Thomas Nashe: Choice of Valentines (1791 words)

Claire Bryony Loffman (Canterbury Christ Church University)
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Passed over in the Penguin Classics’s introduction to his works as Nashe’s “dirty” poem (Nashe 1985 30), the Choice of Valentines, often referred to as “Nashe’s Dildo” is of considerable interest to any student of the history of sexuality and erotic writing in English. It contains the first known use of the word “dildo” to mean “an artificial penis” (OED misdates the Choice to 1601, but the poem was in circulation before John Florio’s 1598 World of Wordes) and provides the first detailed description in English of a dildo. Here it is a long, broad, hollow glass cylinder “almost tuo handfulls highe” covered with white silk or velvet and filled with warm milk or water with a hole at …

Citation: Loffman, Claire Bryony. "Choice of Valentines". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 September 2014 [, accessed 19 June 2021.]

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