The Poetics of English Nationhood, 1590-1612
The Poetics of English Nationhood is a study of the formation of English national identity during the early modern period. Claire McEachern shows how the representation of faith, fatherland and crown in Tudor texts continually personified English political institutions. Those texts we traditionally label literary, she argues, already encode and personify power relations, thereby reinforcing the idea of the nation as an imaginary force. McEachern's study revises our understanding of the term "literary" through an examination of Spenser, Shakespeare and Drayton, tracing the means by which an English national identity was inscribed as part of an enduring social order.
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