LODGE, Thomas

(1558-1625)
A poet, dramatist, prose romancer, translator, and pamphleteer who became a Roman Catholic physician, Thomas Lodge pioneered many literary forms in English, paving the way for later Renaissance writers. Variety well describes Lodge's life as the son of Anne and Sir Thomas Lodge, lord mayor of London, a prominent citizen. He attended the Merchant Taylors' School and Trinity Col­lege, Oxford, taking a degree in 1577. In 1579 his anonymous reply to Stephen Gosson's* Schoole of Abuse in defense of plays launched his literary career, which included experimentation with drama (The Wounds of Civil War, 1594, and A Looking Glasse, for London and England, in collaboration with Robert Greene,* 1594), satirical poems (A Fig for Momus, 1595), historical romances (The Famous, True, and Historicall Life of Robert Second Duke of Normandy, 1591), and the first Ovidian minor epic in the Elizabethan period (Scillaes Meta­morphosis, 1589). Around 1586 he accompanied Captain John Clarke on a voy­age to the Canaries and Azores. Later he traveled with Sir Thomas Cavendish around the world. While traveling in the Canaries, he wrote "to beguile the time with labor" and penned his prose romance Rosalynde (1590), on which William Shakespeare's* As You Like It is based. An experiment in literary form, Rosa­lynde was written in the style of John Lyly's* Euphues. Lodge transformed the prose narrative, and Shakespeare took the story to create his own dramatic ro­mance. Lodge was able to infuse his prose with a variety of elements, from pastoral to chivalric episodes, lyrics, ornate narrative, and poems, not only mak­ing Rosalynde a popular work—eight editions appeared during Lodge's life­time—but also one that brought prose fiction of the romance genre to its highest development. In 1596 his life changed when he replaced literature with medicine and converted to Roman Catholicism. From then until his death in September 1625, most probably of the plague, he wrote translations, medical documents, and treatises, among them The Famous and Memorable Works of Josephus (1602) and A Treatise of the Plague (1603). Marked with experimentation and dedication, Lodge's writing reflects the popular genres of the period.
Bibliography
N. B. Paradise, Thomas Lodge: The History of an Elizabethan, 1931.
Megan S. Lloyd

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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