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Nicholas Udall
(December 1504 - December 23, 1556) U.K.

Nicholas Udall

Schoolmaster and playwright

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Also spelled Uvedale or Udal, Woodall, or other variations, born in Southampton, Hampshire. He was educated at Westminster School and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He taught Latin at Eton College, of which he was headmaster from about 1534 until 1541, being forced to leave when he was convicted under the 1533 Buggery Act for committing sodomy with two of his pupils, one by the name Thomas Cheyney. Although the felony of buggery carried a sentence of capital punishment (by hanging), his sentence was reduced to just under a year in prison.

Nicholas Udall was a playwright and schoolmaster, the author of Ralph Roister Doister, regarded by many as the first comedy written in the English language. The influence of Plautus and Terence is evident, but the play is distinguished by its elements of native English humor. He translated sections from Terence and other works, and wrote Latin plays on sacred subjects. He was also schoolmaster of the royal family for a time.

A Protestant, he flourished under King Edward VI of England, and survived into the reign of the Catholic Mary I. He published several translations and commentaries for the benefit of his pupils. Ralph Roister Doister was written specifically for schoolboys to perform, but was not published until after the author's death in Westminster.

With John Leland he wrote a number songs to celebrate the coronation of Anne Boleyn on the 31st of May 1533 using his latinized name "Udallus". Likewise, he is the author of a Latin textbook utilizing material from his comedy as well as Terence. Both works are thought to "display an erotics of the letter that simultaneously registers and occludes the 'open secret' of pederastic desire." He died at 52.

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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - et alii

The imge doesn't represent Udall; it's an illustration made by Dürer in 1510, representing a teacher with his students.

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