Empire and Nation in Early English Renaissance Literature

October 2008
1 black and white illustrations
262 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Renaissance Literature
ISBN: 9781843841821
Format: Hardback
Library eBook

Empire and Nation in Early English Renaissance Literature

Stewart Mottram

Sensitive readings of Renaissance texts offer new insights into the perception of imperialism in the sixteenth century.
The complex topics of colonialism, empire and nation run throughout English Renaissance literature. Here, the author moves beyond recent work on England's "British" colonial interests, arguing for England's self-image in the sixteenth century as an "empire of itself", part of a culture which deliberately set itself apart from Britain and Europe. In the first section of the book he explores England's self-image as empire in the Arthurian and classical pageants of two Tudor royal entries into the City of London: Charles V's in 1522 and Anne Boleyn's in 1533. Part Two focuses on the culture of English Bible-reading and its influence on England's imperial self-image in the Tudor period. He offers fresh new readings of texts by Richard Morison, William Tyndale, John Bale, Nicholas Udall, and William Lightfoot, among other authors represented.

Dr STEWART MOTTRAM is Research Lecturer, Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Aberystwyth University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Empire and this `Englyshe or Bryttyshe nacyon'
England's Empire Apart: The Entry of Charles V and Henry VIII (1522)
Royal Supremacy and the Rhetoric of Empire: Anne Boleyn's 1533 Entry
Richard Morison: Rebellion and the Rhetoric of Nationhood
Enter England: John Bale's King Johan
Commonwealth in Crisis: Nicholas Udall's Respublica
Conclusion: William Lightfoot and the Legacy of England's Empire Apart


An erudite and informative study that makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of early Tudor literature. REFORMATION & RENAISSANCE REVIEW
A thorough historical study [with] many absorbing details. STUDIES IN ENGLISH LITERATURE
Mottram's book performs a useful service in calling our attention to the ways the English nation was an intelligible prospect in the mid-Tudor period: that alongside colonial machinations were insular ones as well. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES
No one interested in the forms and fictions of nationhood in English Renaissance literature can overlook this book. Students of empire and nation-building will find much to ponder here, and those interested in ideas of commonwealth and republic will also discover early evidence of an interest in alternative forms of government after empire and on the eve of empire, that is, in the wake of Rome and on the threshold of an expanding Britain, when postcolonial England first found its feet and forged its identity. REVIEW OF ENGLISH STUDIES

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