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Forms of Nationhood: The Elizabethan Writing of England

Overview

What have poems and maps, law books and plays, ecclesiastical polemics and narratives of overseas exploration to do with one another? By most accounts, very little. They belong to different genres and have been appropriated by scholars in different disciplines. But, as Richard Helgerson shows in this ambitious and wide-ranging study, all were part of an extraordinary sixteenth- and seventeenth-century enterprise: the project of making England.
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Overview

What have poems and maps, law books and plays, ecclesiastical polemics and narratives of overseas exploration to do with one another? By most accounts, very little. They belong to different genres and have been appropriated by scholars in different disciplines. But, as Richard Helgerson shows in this ambitious and wide-ranging study, all were part of an extraordinary sixteenth- and seventeenth-century enterprise: the project of making England.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Helgerson shows that such a diverse group of writings as Spenser's Faerie Queen, Coke's Institutes of the laws of England, Camden's Britannia, Speed's Theater of the Empire of Great Britain Drayton's Poly-Olbion, Hakluyt's Principal navigations of the English nation, Shakespeare's history plays, and Hooker's Laws of ecclesiastical polity all were part of an extraordinary 16th- and 17th-century enterprise: the project of writing England as a nation-state. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226326344
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 375
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on the Text
Introduction: The Kingdom of Our Own Language 1
1 Two Versions of Gothic 19
Barbarous Tongues 25
The Politics of Chivalric Romance 40
A Miltonic Revision 59
2 Writing the Law 63
Plans for an English Corpus Juris 73
Reporting the Unwritten Law 78
The Form of Coke's Institutes 88
Uncouth Learning and Professional Pride 101
3 The Land Speaks 105
Maps and the Signs of Authority 108
From Court to Country 125
The Ideology of Place and Particularity 131
The Muse on Progress 139
Chorography and Whiggery 146
4 The Voyages of a Nation 149
Class, Nation, and Camoes 155
Commodity and Vent 163
Merchants, Gentlemen, and Their Genres 171
Spain's Tyrannical Ambition 181
Posthumous Writings and Rewritings 187
5 Staging Exclusion 193
Popular Revolt 204
Carnival and Clowns 215
Losing the Common Touch 228
Purged from Barbarism 240
6 Apocalyptics and Apologetics 247
Antichrist and the Suffering Elect 254
Defending the Ecclesiastical Polity 269
In the Body of the Beast 283
Afterword: Engendering the Nation-State 295
Notes 303
Index 351
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