Empire and Nation in Early English Renaissance Literature

Empire and Nation in Early English Renaissance Literature

Stewart Mottram
Volume: 25
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 264
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt81xt0
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  • Book Info
    Empire and Nation in Early English Renaissance Literature
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-632-8
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS AND CONVENTIONS
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. Plate 1: Apollo and the Muses on Parnassus (1533), by Hans Holbein
    (pp. xii-xii)
  6. INTRODUCTION: EMPIRE AND THIS ‘ENGLYSHE OR BRYTTYSHE NACYON’
    (pp. 1-34)

    This book explores England’s self-image in the earlier Tudor period as a sovereign realm, independent of Rome and the rest of Britain, ‘an Empire off hitselff’, as Cuthbert Tunstall called England in 1517, poised between the Holy Roman Empire under the Habsburgs, the Roman church under Leo X and his successor popes, and the British Empire that gathered steam under the ageing Elizabeth.¹ It looks at the figures – both historical and rhetorical – that were used to write England’s evolving self-image as a sovereign realm, or empire, in seven principal texts – two pageant sequences, two plays, two pamphlets,and Leland’s Laboryouse Journey,...

  7. Part One: Empire
    • 1 ENGLAND’S EMPIRE APART: THE ENTRY OF CHARLES V AND HENRY VIII (1522)
      (pp. 37-66)

      The entry into London of Charles V and Henry VIII took place on the evening of Friday 6 June 1522. According to Edward Hall’s account, Charles and Henry rode side-by-side in identical ‘Coates of Clothe of Golde, embraudered with Siluer’, and they were serenaded on their way towards Southwark by Sir Thomas More, who ‘made to theim an eloquent Oracion, in the praise of the twoo princes, and of the peace and loue betwene theim’.¹ The procession met with the first pageant at the gate to London Bridge, which was flanked with the two giants Hercules and Samson. Between them...

    • 2 ROYAL SUPREMACY AND THE RHETORIC OF EMPIRE: ANNE BOLEYN’S 1533 ENTRY
      (pp. 67-102)

      Anne boleyn’s entry into London took place on Saturday 31 May 1533, the day before her coronation at Westminster Abbey on Whit-sunday 1 June. Parliament had passed the Act in Restraint of Appeals less than two months earlier on Monday 7 April. The Appeals Act declared England an empire, autonomous of the Holy Roman Empire, but also independent of the See of Rome. By preventing Rome’s interference in what Archbishop Cranmer termed Henry’s ‘great cause of matrimony’, the act allowed Cranmer to annul Henry’s marriage with Catherine of Aragon, and to make lawful his clandestine marriage to Anne.¹

      Cranmer pronounced...

  8. Part Two: Nation
    • 3 RICHARD MORISON: REBELLION AND THE RHETORIC OF NATIONHOOD
      (pp. 105-135)

      England’s Break with Rome enriched the crown’s coffers with revenue from the sale of church lands, but these lands were purchased at a cost to Henry VIII, for with the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 came open rebellion at home and the threat of invasion from abroad. Henry paid a high price in October 1536 for his claims, in the Appeals Act, to be ‘Sup[re]me heede’ of an English empire compact of church and state.¹ As head of the English church, Henry had in May 1536 adopted a policy of dissolving religious houses with an annual income of less...

    • 4 ENTER ENGLAND: JOHN BALE’S KING JOHAN
      (pp. 136-169)

      The ‘particuler formes of gouerment […] are not determyned by God or nature’, the Jesuit Robert Parsons wrote in 1594. Instead, ‘euery nation and countrey’ should ‘chuse that forme of gouerment, which they shal like best, and think most fit for the natures and conditions of their people’.¹ If we agree with Benedict Anderson that nations are born out of a desire for greater political freedoms, then Parsons words inevitably force us to question Anderson’s claim that national sentiment did not emerge in Western Europe until the eighteenth-century age of ‘Enlightenment and Revolution’.² Parsons’s separation of king from commonwealth had...

    • 5 COMMONWEALTH IN CRISIS: NICHOLAS UDALL’S RESPUBLICA
      (pp. 170-208)

      The death of Henry VIII, in the early hours of 28 January 1547, brought the downfall also of legislation prohibiting Bible-reading to all but his most privileged subjects. When the first parliament under Edward VI met in November 1547, it was to reverse the late king’s concessions to traditional religion by repealing all ‘Act[es] of p[ar]lament’ passed in Henry’s reign ‘concerninge doctryne and matters of Religion’. Alongside the conservative Six Articles Act, the 1547 Repeals Act singled out for particular mention the Act for Advancement of true Religion. Its proscriptions against the ‘reading preaching teaching or expownding of Scripture’, the...

  9. CONCLUSION: WILLIAM LIGHTFOOT AND THE LEGACY OF ENGLAND’S EMPIRE APART
    (pp. 209-222)

    When in December 1553 Mary I renounced her title ‘supreme head’ of the English church she brought to an end a unique period of English constitutional history, a period begun almost exactly two decades earlier with the passage of the Appeals Act through parliament in April 1533. As the subject of Chapter One revealed, the Appeals Act was not the first text to use the word ‘empire’ as a shorthand for England’s political independence, but it was the first to include the English church within England’s empire apart, to separate England from Rome as well as from Britain and the...

  10. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 223-238)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 239-248)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 249-251)