Wit without Money in Nashe
DOI link for Wit without Money in Nashe
Wit without Money in Nashe book
Within the scope of Pierce Penniless and along this prefatory horizon, Thomas Nashe envisions a paradoxically productive relationship between wit and waste, and sites that relationship on the threshold between money's materiality and its openness to the supernatural. The emptying-out of a bodily container serves Nashe as a means to contemplate its materiality as minimal: a purse deprived of its money exists as a margin of substance, something hollow, flimsy, little, and trivial that is nevertheless not quite nothing. The chthonic character of money interacts complexly in Nashe's prose with the material conditions of plenitude and of privation, each of which is differently diabolical. Coined money does double duty in Nashe's discourse of flimsiness and triviality. It articulates the conventional standard of substantiality that is gold, and it articulates the standard of quantitative value through which qualities become remarkable. The absence of money is the ground of much poetic complaint, Chaucer's complaint to his purse being a ready example.