The Unfortunate Traveller  

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"I flew me over to Munster in Germany, which an Anabaptistical brother named John Leyden kept at that instant against the Emperor and the Duke of Saxony. Here I was in good hope to set up my staff for some reasonable time, deeming that no city would drive it to a siege except they were able to hold out, and prettily well had these Munsterians held out, for they kept the Emperor and the Duke of Saxony play for the space of a year, and longer would have done but that Dame Famine came amongst them, whereupon they were forced by messengers to agree upon a day of fight when, according to their Anabaptistical error they might all be new christened in their own blood." --The Unfortunate Traveller by Thomas Nashe, describing the events of the Münster Rebellion.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Unfortunate Traveller by Thomas Nashe (1594) is a picaresque novel set during the reign of Henry VIII of England.

The narrator, Jack Wilton, describes his adventures as a page during the wars against the French, and his subsequent travels in Italy as page to the Earl of Surrey. In his travels, Jack witnesses numerous atrocities, including battlefields, plague, and rape: at one point he is nearly hanged, and at another, he is on the point of being cut up in a live anatomy demonstration. Jack's narrative climaxes by describing the brutal revenge taken by one Italian on another, who forces him to pray to the devil and then shoots him in the throat: Jack himself escapes and returns to England.

Literary references

In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Sir Jack Wilton (standing in for real-life Elizabethan spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham) was the "M" of the late 16th century. He led a group of special operatives called Prospero's Men during the reign of "Good Queen Gloriana" of England.

Historical references

The novel, candidate for the first novel in English, describes the events of the Münster Rebellion.



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