Authors: Thomas Lodge

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

English novelist, poet, and translator

Author Works

Long Fiction:

The Delectable History of Forbonius and Prisceria, 1584

Rosalynde: Or, Euphues Golden Legacy, 1590

Euphues Shadow, 1592

A Margarite of America, 1596

Poetry:

Scillaes Metamorphosis, 1589

Phillis, 1593

A Fig for Momus, 1595

Drama:

The Wounds of Civill War, pr. c. 1586

A Looking Glass for London and England, pr. c. 1588-1589 (with Robert Greene)

Nonfiction:

A Reply to Gosson, 1580

An Alarum Against Usurers, 1584

The Famous, True, and Historicall Life of Roberet Second Duke of Normandy, 1591

Catharos, 1591

The Life and Death of William Long Beard, 1593

The Divel Conjured, 1596

Prosopopeia, 1596

Wits Miserie and Worlds Madnesse, 1596

A Treatise on the Plague, 1603

The Poore Mans Talentt, 1621

Translations:

The Flowers of Lodowicke of Granado, 1601

The Famous and Memorable Workes of Josephus, 1602

The Workes of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, 1614

A Learned Summary upon the Famous Poeme of William of Saluste, Lord of Bartas, 1625

Miscellaneous:

The Complete Works of Thomas Lodge, 1883 (4 volumes; Sir Edmund Gosse, editor)

Biography

Thomas Lodge was possibly born in London in 1558, the same year that Henry VIII took the throne. Lodge was educated at Oxford University. A prolific writer, he published extensively in a number of genres. His father, Sir Thomas Lodge, had an auspicious political career, serving as an alderman and, for a time, as the lord mayor of London. His income, however, was not sufficient to offer his son a lavish education.{$I[A]Lodge, Thomas}{$I[geo]ENGLAND;Lodge, Thomas}{$I[tim]1558;Lodge, Thomas}

As a child, Lodge grew up under the care of the earls of Derby from the Stanley family. In the household, Lodge served as a page and was able to learn music, languages, and the fine arts of societal life. In 1571, immediately following his time with the Stanleys, Lodge went to the Merchant Taylors’ School in London. Two years later, he was enrolled at Trinity College, Oxford. During his term at Oxford, he was admitted with reduced tuition because of financial problems suffered by his father. Such were the magnitude of these difficulties that the elder Lodge spent a short period in prison for failure to pay debts. Graduating from Oxford in 1578, Thomas Lodge proceeded to law school in London as a member of Lincoln’s Inn. As a member of this group, he could expect eventually to serve in government or at court. During his time there, two significant events took place. First, his mother died, leaving him a will that imposed constraints upon him designed to guide him in a direction of which she would approve. For Lady Lodge, this meant a strict adherence to Protestantism, an opinion of which her favorite son did not share. The second major event of the Lincoln’s Inn years was the beginning of his writing career amid the rapidly expanding London literary scene.

In 1584, the elder Lodge died. In his will, he disinherited his son. Scholars agree that this was most likely the result of Sir Thomas’s opinion that his son was pursuing a scandalous lifestyle in London. In 1579, the younger Thomas had begun a writing career that began with the prose piece A Reply to Gosson, in which the author defended the literary and dramatic arts which had come under attack by Stephen Gosson in The Schoole of Abuse, published earlier that year. Lodge’s piece was largely a rewritten work, borrowing heavily from the preface of the continental author Badius Ascensius to Terence’s Plays (1502). This form of borrowing was a common practice of the time. Lodge’s best-known work, the prose romance Rosalynde, was written during an expedition to the Canary Islands in 1588 and has been shown to be the basis for William Shakespeare’s As You Like It (c. 1599-1600).

Owing to financial circumstance, Lodge worked in a number of ventures while pursuing his writing. After his early forays into public life, he spent time at sea (in a role that some describe as pirate, though of a relatively moderate sort) and later moved into the practice of medicine. Lodge was denied the official designation of doctor of physic in London, even though he had received medical degrees from Avignon (1598) and Oxford (1603). As a result, he began his medical work on the Continent. However, once the plague began to sweep through England, Lodge found himself working not only as a doctor but also serving as Dr. Lodge, the “plague-surgeon,” as appointed by the court alderman. It was in this role that he contracted the disease himself, which led quickly to his death in September of 1625.

BibliographyBeecher, Donald, ed. Rosalind: Euphues’ Golden Legend Found After His Death in His Cell at Silexdra (1590). Ottawa: Dovehouse, 1996. A scholarly, critical edition of Lodge’s most famous work, which was rewritten by William Shakespeare into the play As You Like It. Includes an introduction and notes.Conlon, Raymond, “Lodge’s Rosalind.” The Explicator 50, no. 1 (Fall, 1991): 7. Lodge’s pastoral romance “Rosalind” is examined. Two sacrificial scenes in which Adam Spencer plays the dual role of nourisher and liberator of Rosader are discussed as part of a pattern in which the functions of the servant have symbolic importance.Donno, Elizabeth Story. “The Epyllion.” In English Poetry and Prose, 1540-1674, edited by Christopher Ricks. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1986. A leading authority on Elizabethan narrative poetry. Donno illuminates the conventions and qualities which characterize the forms. Places Lodge clearly against his cultural background. The thorough index demonstrates Lodge’s manifold activities, and the bibliography covers all major works.Hulse, Clark. Metamorphic Verse: The Elizabethan Minor Epic. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981. Hulse’s book is the modern authoritative study of the minor epic genre. Covers the field thoroughly, although much of the material is technical and sophisticated. The bibliography and index are complete.Lodge, Thomas. Rosalind: Euphues’ Golden Legacy Found After His Death in His Cell Silexedra (1590). Edited by Donald Beecher. Ottawa: Dovehouse Editions, 1997. Beecher provides an informative introduction. Bibliographical references, index.Ostriker, Alicia, and Leslie Dunn. “The Lyric.” In English Poetry and Prose, 1540-1674, edited by Christopher Ricks. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1986. Ostriker and Dunn divide the field here, the former taking verse written independently, the latter lyrics written for music–a division first made during the Elizabethan period. Lodge is covered in both categories. The index demonstrates more of his diversity, and the bibliography collects the primary sources.Rae, Wesley D. Thomas Lodge. New York: Twayne, 1967. A critical biography of Lodge that includes a chronology, an index, and a detailed bibliography.Ryan, Pat M. Thomas Lodge, Gentleman. Hamden, Conn.: Shoestring Press, 1958. Ryan’s book is a study of Lodge’s life and work, intended for a general audience.Tenney, Edward Andrews. Thomas Lodge. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1935. Tenney’s book is a critical biography that traces Lodge’s life and his experiments with a variety of literary forms. Particular attention is paid to Lodge’s contribution to the development of the novel form.
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