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Peter Holland

Trent shall run, In a new channel fair and evenly. ( 1 Henry IV , 3.1.95–100) In the politics of maps we are of course aware of the two crucial examples in Shakespeare, the map of England being divided up and redivided here in Hotspur’s irritation in 1 Henry IV and the map of Britain being divided up

in Shakespeare’s histories and counter-histories
Caesar under Thatcher
Andrew James Hartley

visceral response. The Britain of the 1960s and 1970s lacked the kinds of dominant political figures to make Caesar feel topical, but the 1980s and 1990s positively brimmed with analogues to the story of a dictator’s demise and its aftermath. The nation in which Ron Daniels’ 1983 production opened at the RST was as divided along lines of class, geography and race as it has ever been in the modern

in Julius Caesar

The subject of Britain reads key early seventeenth-century texts by Bacon, Daniel, Drayton, Hume, Jonson, Shakespeare and Speed within the context of the triple monarchy of King James VI and I, whose desire to create a united Britain unleashed serious debate and reflection concerning nationhood and national sovereignty. This book traces writing on Britain through a variety of discursive forms: succession literature, panegyric, union tracts and treatises, plays, maps and histories. Attending to the emergence of new ideologies and new ways of thinking about collective identities, The subject of Britain seeks to advance knowledge by foregrounding instances of fruitful cultural production in this period. Bacon’s and Hume’s pronouncements on the common ancestry, the cultural proximity of Britain’s inhabitants, for instance, evinces Jacobean imaginings of peoples and nations joining together, however tenuously. By focusing on texts printed in not just London but also Edinburgh as well as manuscript material that circulated across Britain, this book sheds valuable light on literary and extra-literary texts in relation to the wider geopolitical context that informed, indeed enabled, their production. By combining the historical study of literary and non-literary texts with the history of political thought and the history of the book broadly defined, The subject of Britain offers a fresh approach to a signal moment in the history of early modern Britain. Given its interdisciplinary nature, this book will appeal to literary historians and historians of early modern Britain as well as undergraduates and postgraduates.

Hume, Bacon, Britain and Britishness
Christopher Ivic

: otherwayes by deuiding your Kingdomes, yee shall leaue the seede of diuisione and discorde among your posteritie’. 1 On 17 April 1603, Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli, Venetian secretary in England, wrote to the Doge and Senate stating that James ‘is disposed to abandon the titles of England and Scotland, and to call himself King of Great Britain, and like that famous and ancient King Arthur to embrace under one name the whole circuit of one thousand seven hundred miles, which includes the United Kingdom now possessed by his Majesty, in that one island’. 2 Upon his accession

in The subject of Britain, 1603–25
All’s Well That Ends Well
Lisa Hopkins

In this essay, I want to suggest that we should read the pilgrimage-minded Helena of All’s Well That Ends Well in the light of two holy women, St Helena of Britain and Mary Magdalene. First, however, I want to pause on one of the most prominent of many problematic moments in this strange, difficult play, when Helena sends her mother

in Biblical women in early modern literary culture 1550–1700
Ton Hoenselaars
Helmer Helmers

to the continent. Succeeding Sir John Norris as commander of the British troops in the Netherlands, Robert Dudley crossed the North Sea with his company of players – Lord Leicester’s Men – including Will Kempe. It is they who were responsible for the earliest recorded instance of an English theatre production on Dutch soil, namely at Utrecht. On 23 April 1586, in the presence of Dutch diplomats, but

in Doing Kyd
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Accession, union, nationhood
Christopher Ivic

The ‘subject’ of this book’s title refers to a geographical entity as well as its inhabitants: namely, Britain (geopolitically, Britain and Ireland) and Britons (or the English, Scottish and Welsh; geopolitically incorporating Ireland’s increasingly culturally and religiously diverse subjects). The Subject of Britain , therefore, explores one island’s, at times two islands’, geography, history (indeed antiquity), people and real and imagined polities, and it does so through the eyes of those who surveyed the island’s geography, wrote the island’s history

in The subject of Britain, 1603–25
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The Jacobean writing of Britain
Christopher Ivic

‘As far as possible’, writes Thomas Craig in 1605 regarding histories of England and Scotland, ‘the public annals of the two countries should be revised. Errors and irritating expressions must be expunged (though in this matter our own histories are not so provocative as those of our neighbours), and a new history of Britain should be written.’ 1 Craig’s call for a rewriting of Britain’s history was echoed south of the border. In a letter to Thomas Egerton, England’s lord chancellor, Bacon comments on ‘the unworthiness of the history of England … and the

in The subject of Britain, 1603–25
Reimagining nationhood in Macbeth
Christopher Ivic

‘Like to his Iland, gyrt in with the Ocean’ ( 3H6 , TLN 2619) Why would an English playwright whose plays not only depict intra-island warfare and border transgressions between the geographically contiguous nations that constitute Great Britain’s political landscape but also include as stage props maps of all or parts of Britain delineate his native land an island? 1 Writing in 1604, Bacon informs King James of the ‘points wherein the nations [England and Scotland] stand already united’; included among these points is ‘[i]n continent’. ‘For the Continent

in The subject of Britain, 1603–25
English responses to the accession of King James VI and I
Christopher Ivic

precedents in British history? How did James’s English subjects construct, appropriate and disseminate their new Scottish king? ‘Our Lion comes as meekely as a Doue’ Writing a couple of years after the event, David Hume of Godscroft captures ‘the divergent feelings of the English and Scottish people’ occasioned by his king’s ‘setting out for England’: ‘[o]n one side you would see exuberance, high spirits, joy, everything happy and festive; on the other, sighs mixed with happiness for the king’s good fortune’. 18 English reports of their northern neighbours at the time

in The subject of Britain, 1603–25