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Writing the Nation in Reformation England, 1530–1580$
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Cathy Shrank

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199268887

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199268887.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Writing the Nation in Reformation England, 1530–1580

Cathy Shrank (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter gives a brief overview of the book as a whole and identifies the main strands of nation-building that it explores: language, history (a shared sense of the past), topography (a shared sense and conception of place, particularly the frequent misrepresentation of England as an ‘island’), the creation of a literary canon, and the promotion of a participatory political culture. It outlines the impact of the Reformation and of humanism on the formation of English identity and argues that the writing of the mid-Tudor period, categorised by C. S. Lewis as ‘drab’, did not retreat — as Alistair Fox has suggested — from ‘fictive’ forms. The chapter also asserts the continued influence of Latin and continental literature and culture on the formation of English identities and an English literary tradition.

Keywords:   humanism, nation-building, political culture, Reformation, topography

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