Literature, Politics and National Identity: Reformation to Renaissance

Overview

For many years C. S. Lewis's dismissal of the sixteenth century as a 'drab age' influenced literary scholars. Andrew Hadfield offers a challenging reinterpretation, through study of the work of some of the century's most important writers, including Skelton, Bale, Sidney, Spenser, Baldwin and the Earl of Surrey. He argues that all were involved in the establishment of a vernacular literary tradition as a crucial component of English identity, yet also wished to use the category of 'literature' to create a public ...

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Overview

For many years C. S. Lewis's dismissal of the sixteenth century as a 'drab age' influenced literary scholars. Andrew Hadfield offers a challenging reinterpretation, through study of the work of some of the century's most important writers, including Skelton, Bale, Sidney, Spenser, Baldwin and the Earl of Surrey. He argues that all were involved in the establishment of a vernacular literary tradition as a crucial component of English identity, yet also wished to use the category of 'literature' to create a public space for critical political debate. Conventional assumptions - that pre-modern and modern history are neatly separated by the Renaissance, and that literary history is best studied as an autonomous narrative - are called into question: this book is a study of literary texts, but also a contribution to theories and histories of politics, national identity and culture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521118859
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/3/2009
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction: the nation and public literature in the sixteenth century; 1. A Skelton in the closet: English literary identity betwixt and between; 2. John Bale and the time of the nation; 3. Literature and history - a mirror for magistrates; 4. Towards a national form: rhetoric and literary theory from Wilson to Puttenham; 5. Whose bloody country is it anyway? Sir Philip Sidney, the nation and the public; 6. 'Who knowes not Colin Clout?': the permanent exile of Edmund Spenser; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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