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The Unfortunate Traveller, Or The Life Of…

The Unfortunate Traveller, Or The Life Of Jacke Wilton (1594)

by Thomas Nash

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Here’s a funny old book. Not very long, for which I am thankful, and possibly the only Tudor ‘novel’ on the 1001 list, for which I am also thankful.

It’s a picaresque novel and arguably one of the first and this has earned it a place on the 1001 Books list. It’s almost definitely the shortest because writers of picaresque novels never know when to shut up. It’s a genre which I’m grateful has dropped out of favour with modern readers and writers.

I can barely remember what happened, not least because my edition was a reprint of the original text complete with original spelling which, compared to modern standard spelling, requires some lateral thinking to process. Then there’s vocabulary which we simply don’t use anymore for which the Internet was essential.

Then there’s a story which isn’t as straightforward as simply a guy going on a jaunt overseas (why must picaresque novels always head overseas?) There were twists and turns of ‘plot’ and the obligatory japes and close calls. I say ‘obligatory’ but, of course, Nashe was one of the first to do this. The popularity of the form in later years testifies to his influence, at least on the English novel.

I wouldn’t bother rushing out to get a copy of this unless you are a real die-hard lit fiend. Having said that, if you are, you’ve probably already read it. What did you think? ( )
  arukiyomi | Jun 5, 2016 |
A proto-novel, certainly not quite a novel as we know it. Rather, this is more like a travelogue of one "Jack Wilton". Servant to an English earl who always seems to find (or to create) trouble. Kind of jumps all over the place (at least all over continental Europe), and the "story" doesn't have a common thread, other than the presence of Jack Wilton.

Short, but the older English makes for slow going. Also rather gory, but the stiff old writing makes the gore not seem as gory. If that makes sense. ( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
Written in 1594, this is a work of fiction that is worth reading. Thomas Nash writes of Jack Wilton, an English rogue who travels through Europe and gets into all sorts of trouble. His own difficulties notwithstanding, he has interesting encounters with men such as Erasmus and Thomas More. It may take a few times to really get it since the language is archaic but it's an entertaining story. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
The Unfortunate Traveller Thomas Nash

Said to be the first English novel this was written during the reign of Elizabeth the first and set in the reign of her father Henry VIII.

Our narrator is a soldier in Henry's army Jack Wilton, while the title suggest misfortune befalls him from my point of view he went out and caused much of his own misfortune by his thoughtless, careless and misadvised actions.

This would have been an interesting look into life in the reign of Henry VIII however I got too bogged down in the archaic language and the supposedly humourous episodes that failed to raise a smile and lost interest I struggled to the end of the book gaining little understanding or insight, this book would probably improve with a reread however I just dont care enough to put the time in and do it.

( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
This book was thankfully quite short - and is the shortest, so far, on the 1,001 Books to Read list. I had no idea what was going on. The language was way, way too highbrow for me to grasp anything. There was an adventure, or something. I felt the word choices were a smokescreen for an empty story. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nash, Thomasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gosse, EdmundEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Abovt that time that the terror of the world, and feauer quartan of the French, Henrie the eight, (the onely true subject of Chronicles) aduanced his standard against the two hundred and fifitie towers of Turney and Turwin, and had the Empereur and all the nobility of Flanders, Holland and Brabant as mercenarie attendantes on his fulsailed fortune, I Iacke Wilton (a Gentleman at lest) was a certaine kinde of an appendix or page, belonging or appertaining in or vnto the confines of the English court, where what my credit was, a number of my creditors that I coosned can testifie, Caelum petimus stultitia, which of vs all is not a sinner.
Her high exalted sunne beames haue set the phenix neast of my breast on fire, and I my selfe haue brought Arabian spiceries of sweete passions and praises, to furnish out the funerall flame of my folly. Those who were condemned to be smothered to death by sinking downe into the softe bottome of an high built bedde of roses, neuer dide so sweete a death as I should die, if her rose coloured disdaine were my deathsman.
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