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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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William Thomas and the Riches of the Vulgar Tongue

William Thomas and the Riches of the Vulgar Tongue

(p.104) 3 William Thomas and the Riches of the Vulgar Tongue
Writing the Nation in Reformation England, 1530–1580

Cathy Shrank (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the influence of Italian learning and culture on William Thomas, author of the first English history of Italy and first English-Italian grammar, and an early enthusiast for Machiavelli, whose ideas he disseminated in manuscript to Edward VI. The chapter examines Thomas's portrayal in his topographical and historical writings of the affinities between England and Italy, and his use of Italy as both an inspiration and a foil. It traces the impact of a self-conscious movement to reform and promote the Italian vernacular on Thomas's championing of the English language. It also looks at Thomas's Protestantism, his adaptation of Machiavellian thought to English statecraft, the influence of Italian printed books on the presentation of Thomas's works (published by Thomas Berthelet), and Thomas's self-fashioning through his writing.

Keywords:   Italy, Machiavelli, manuscript, Protestantism, self-fashioning, William Thomas

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