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Forms of Nationhood

The Elizabethan Writing of England

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.

375 pages | 17 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 1992

History: British and Irish History

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

Table of Contents

Note on the Text
Introduction: The Kingdom of Our Own Language
1: Two Versions of Gothic
Barbarous Tongues
The Politics of Chivalric Romance
A Miltonic Revision
2: Writing the Law
Plans for an English Corpus Juris
Reporting the Unwritten Law
The Form of Coke’s Institutes
Uncouth Learning and Professional Pride
3: The Land Speaks
Maps and the Signs of Authority
From Court to Country
The Ideology of Place and Particularity
The Muse on Progress
Chorography and Whiggery
4: The Voyages of a Nation
Class, Nation, and Camoes
Commodity and Vent
Merchants, Gentlemen, and Their Genres
Spain’s Tyrannical Ambition
Posthumous Writings and Rewritings
5: Staging Exclusion
Popular Revolt
Carnival and Clowns
Losing the Common Touch
Purged from Barbarism
6: Apocalyptics and Apologetics
Antichrist and the Suffering Elect
Defending the Ecclesiastical Polity
In the Body of the Beast
Afterword: Engendering the Nation-State


North Am. Conference on British Studies: British Council Prize

Modern Language Association of America: James Russell Lowell Prize

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