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Cavendish, George


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


George Cavendish (1497–c.1562) was a literary late starter. He was already in his mid-fifties when he took up his pen to write his first work, the so-called Metrical visions , a longish dream-vision which, though apparently taking place over a single day and night, actually occupied the poet over the two years between June 1552 (or earlier) and the summer of 1554. Almost as soon as he had finished this project, Cavendish started work on another, The life of Wolsey , which took him from November 1554 to 24 June 1558. And then, just as suddenly as his literary career had begun, it stopped. Thus, over a roughly six-year period during the turbulent decade of the 1550s, Cavendish had written two of the classics of mid-Tudor literature. Cavendish was born in 1497 into a well-established gentry family in Suffolk. His father, Thomas, held office at the exchequer, and it was no doubt by means of his position at the centre of the machinery of state that his eldest son George was preferred to the service of the great cardinal Thomas Wolsey around 1522. George Cavendish acted as Wolsey's gentleman usher, which required him to attend personally on his master at all times, and also involved special duties with regard to the lavish entertainments of which the somewhat megalomaniac cardinal was especially fond; Cavendish describes some of these in great detail in his Life . As it happens, Cavendish's ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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