The farrago: An Elizabethan genre outlined and examined in selected works by William Bullein, Sir John Harington and Thomas Nashe
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
In the face of the generic confusion in the field of English Renaissance non-fictional prose, this thesis outlines a particular type of writing not before acknowledged as belonging to a genre. This kind of writing I call the farrago; a farrago is defined to be a prose work belonging principally to no one genre, but containing within it pieces belonging to one or more kinds. Five representative Elizabethan farragoes are examined: William Bullein's A Dialogue (1564), Sir John Harington’s The Metamorphosis of Ajax (1596), and three works by Thomas Nashe, Pierce Penilesse his Supplication to the Divell (1592), Have with you to Saffron Walden (1596) and Nashes Lenten Stuffe (1599). Each of these works is dissected to show its component parts, and the historical and generic background to these parts is, in most cases, discussed. An evaluation is made of the contribution of the farrago form to the work's literary impact. In the final chapter several other farragoes, including Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, are considered, and their farraginary pieces indicated, in order to show the ubiquity of the genre in Renaissance writing.