The Politics and Culture of Honour in Britain and Ireland, 1541-1641

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Through an exploration of overlapping concepts of noble honour amongst English and Irish elites, this book provides a cultural analysis of 'British' high politics in the early modern period. Analysing English- and Irish-language sources, Brendan Kane argues that between the establishment of the Irish kingdom under the English Crown in 1541 and the Irish rebellion of 1641, honour played a powerful role in determining the character of Anglo-Irish society, politics and cultural contact. In this age, before the rise of a more bureaucratic and participatory state, political power was intensely personal and largely the concern of elites. And those elites were preoccupied with honour. By exploring contemporary 'honour politics', this book brings a cultural perspective to our understanding of the character of English imperialism in Ireland and of the Irish responses to it. In so doing it highlights understudied aspects of the origins of the 'British' state.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"…a rich and scholarly study of the role of honor in political and cultural contexts in Britain and Ireland…In this book, Brendan Kane has displayed sparkling enthusiasm for the subject at hand, making it entirely accessible to both a specialist and nonspecialist audience, through a skilfully written narrative. These factors, combined with its undoubted contribution to the historiography, make this book worthy of widespread attention." - Annaleigh Margey, Renaissance Quarterly

"Kane’s erudite book challenges those Irish historians who would reduce all political action to the pursuit of material self-interest...Kane’s Politics and Culture of Honour is a valuable and rewarding study, good to think with, and, as such, will be vital reading for all students of early modern Ireland." - Ian Campbell, Irish Historical Studies

"In a densely detailed, thorough examination…Kane skilfully guides the reader through the myriad personalities, policies, and perceptions of not simply theoretical ideas of honor, but also how ever-present honor was and how it functioned in Gael-Gall relations…Kane has produced a text that will be richly mined by both students and scholars in the field for years to come." -Kyle Lynch-Baldwin, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Kane makes perceptive and resourceful use of literary sources to illuminate his theme. He draws out the extraordinarily important role that honour politics played in shaping the values and identity of the British and Irish elites during this period, and by recovering their obsession with honour he is able to construct a sophisticated cultural history of high politics." - David Smith, Historical Journal

"this is a rich and suggestive book that correctly alerts historians of early modern Ireland to the need for greater awareness of cultural issues when they seek to explain the transformations wrought on that island during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries." -James Kelly, American Historical Review

"...the author offers a finely grained study of Irish honor, firmly situated within the wider Anglo-Irish world." -Linda A. Pollack, The Journal of Modern History

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Brendan Kane is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations

A note on names and the citation of Irish words

Introduction Honour in Britain and Ireland 1

Ch. 1 The honour revolution of 1541 20

Ch. 2 Gaelic honour in Tudor Ireland 44

Ch. 3 'British' honour and the Nine Years' War 92

Ch. 4 Making the Irish European: Gaelic honour after the Nine Years' War 122

Ch. 5 Gaelic and Old English honour in early Stuart 'Britain' 146

Ch. 6 A hierarchy transformed? Precedence disputes, the defence of honour and 'British' high-politics, 1603-1632 194

Ch. 7 Wentworth, the Irish Lord Deputyship and the Caroline politics of honour 221

Conclusion 268

Bibliography 279

Index 294

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