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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VI. The Drama to 1642, Part Two.

XII. University Plays

§ 13. Pedantius

Pedantius is an admirable combination of Plautine machinery and types with the conditions of English university life in the later sixteenth century. The lovesick pedant of southern comedy is here transformed into a Cambridge humanist, who is the unsuccessful rival of a freedman for the hand of a slave girl Lydia, and whose rhetorial flights avail him nothing except to stave off payment of his tailor’s bills. But the pedant is not merely modernised, he is individualised into a caricature of Gabriel Harvey. This is vouched for by Nashe in Have with you to Saffron Walden, where he declares that, in “the concise and firking finicaldo fine schoolmaster,” Harvey, “was full drawen and delineated from the soule of the foote to the crowne of his head.” Internal evidence confirms the identification. Not only is Pedantius, as was Harvey, according to the view of his enemies, a fop and a sycophant, but phrases from the Cambridge rhetorician’s works occur repeatedly in the play, and his Musarum Lachrymae is directly named. As satellite and contrast to the main figure appears another contemporary academic type, the solemnly argumentative, logic-chopping philosopher Dromodotus.