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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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Thomas Smith and the Senate of Letters

Thomas Smith and the Senate of Letters

Chapter:
(p.143) 4 Thomas Smith and the Senate of Letters
Source:
Writing the Nation in Reformation England, 1530–1580
Author(s):

Cathy Shrank (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199268887.003.0005

This chapter studies the influence on Smith of his education and mentors (such as John Cheke) at Cambridge University. It traces his frequent recourse to the humanist genre of dialogue and his promotion of counsel and of conciliar government, the existence of which should limit monarchical power and prevent tyranny. It discusses Smith's plans for language reform, a reflection of his view that language, law, and religion were the three bands of commonweal; his intervention in the Edwardian Enclosure debates; and his treatise on Elizabeth I's marriage. Looking at both Smith's plans for the colonisation of Ireland and his psalm translations (composed in prison), it also argues that Smith's choice of medium (be it manuscript or print) reveals the ways in which he targeted the type of audience he required for the work in question.

Keywords:   commonweal, counsel, dialogue, Enclosure debates, Ireland, language reform, manuscript, Thomas Smith, tyranny

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