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In Defiance of TimeAntiquarian Writing in Early Modern England$
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Angus Vine

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199566198

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199566198.001.0001

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Origins and Names: Etymology and the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries

Origins and Names: Etymology and the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries

(p.51) 2 Origins and Names: Etymology and the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries
In Defiance of Time

Angus Vine (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the antiquarian interest in linguistic traces, examining how writers of an antiquarian bent turned to etymology and names to access the past and unearth historical origins, and sometimes also to establish narratives of genealogical descent. The belief was widespread that the name of a people or place was a form of record, memorializing ancestors or founders. As such, etymology was a highly effective means to know the past, and so the etymological approach united writers and scholars from various backgrounds and in different genres. The chapter focuses on the papers delivered at the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries, William Camden's Britannia, and Edmund Spenser's A View of the Present State of Ireland. It also explains why etymology came to be such an important methodology for the antiquaries.

Keywords:   etymology, linguistic, genealogical, origins, memorializing, Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries, William Camden, Edmund Spenser, methodology

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