In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle considers the remarkable achievements of the greatest Elizabethan poet nobody reads
George Gascoigne wrote the first original poem in blank verse, the first prose comedy, and arguably the first English novel. He wrote the first treatise on prosody (the study of versification) in English. He was also the author of the first major sonnet sequence in English; he, not Sir Philip Sidney, should get that credit. The twentieth-century critic Yvor Winters considered George Gascoigne to be one of the six or seven greatest lyric poets of the entire sixteenth century. But who was George Gascoigne? Given this roll-call of achievements, why do so few people know his name?