‘Most fond and fruitlesse warre’
Ralegh and the call to arms
in Literary and visual Ralegh
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The interjection, taken from Sir Walter Ralegh's magnum opus The History of the World is squeezed into a much larger narrative devoted to Alexander the Great's encounters with the Persians. Ralegh would remain in France for at least two years, but by 1572 he had proceeded up to oriel College, oxford, from where he would eventually move on to the inns of Chancery. Quite apart from his recurring roles in court lobbying and factionalism in the late Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, Ralegh's own textual meditations were drawn inexorably to the business of military intervention. Even when Ralegh focused in his History upon antique civilizations deeply revered in his own society, he was compelled to bear witness to arresting scenes of violent hostilities allied to a more general narrative of social collapse.

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