(born December 1505?, Southampton, Hampshire, Eng.—died December 1556, Westminster) English playwright, translator, and schoolmaster. The headmaster of Eton College from 1534 and of Westminster from 1555, Udall was well known as a translator. He is credited with writing many plays, of which only one is extant, Ralph Roister Doister (performed circa 1553), the first known English comedy. About a braggart soldier-hero who is finally shown to be an arrant coward, it marks the emergence of comedy from the medieval morality plays, interludes, and farces.
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A Protestant, he flourished under Edward VI and survived into the reign of the Catholic Mary I. In 1547, he became Vicar of Braintree, in 1551 of Calborne, Isle of Wight and in 1554 headmaster of Westminster School.
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.