‘This England’ is a timely response to a demand for a history which is no less social than political, investigating what it meant to be a citizen of England, living through the 1570s and 1580s. Collinson’s book examines the growing conviction of ‘Englishness’ in the sixteenth century, through the rapidly developing English language; the reinforcement of cultural nationalism as a result of the Protestant Reformation; the national and international situation of England at a time of acute national catastrophe; and through Queen Elizabeth I, the last of her line, who remained unmarried throughout her reign, refusing to even discuss the succession to her throne. In a series of essays, Collinson explores the conviction among leading Elizabethans that they were citizens and subjects, also responsible for the safety of their commonwealth. The tensions between this conviction, born from a childhood spent in the Renaissance classics and in the subjection to the Old Testament of the English Bible, and the dynastic claims of the Tudor monarchy, are all explored at length. Studies of a number of writers who fixed the image of sixteenth-century England for some time to come; Foxe, Camden, and other pioneers of the discovery of England are also included.
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