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.
‘Popularity’, King James VI and I, Parliament and monarchists
Filmer’s patriarchalism in context:
Parliament and monarchists
THe DANGer OF ‘POPuLArITY’ IN JAcOBeAN AND eArLY
s Peter Lake showed, by the end of the 1620s there existed ‘two structurally
similar but mutually exclusive conspiracy theories … purported to explain
the political difficulties of the period’.1 The monarchist narrative of ‘popularity’
focused on recurrent ‘puritanical’ plots threatening the existence of monarchy.
By contrast, the ‘anti-popery’ argument insisted on popish
A much-needed monograph of one of the most unpopular and criticised thinkers in the history of political thought, Cuttica’s study provides an illuminating and innovative picture of Sir Robert Filmer (1588-1653) and patriarchalism. Appealing to a broad audience in the humanities, this thoroughly researched work will make an essential reading for all those interested in early modern politics and ideas. This book explores Filmer’s patriarchalist theories in connection with seventeenth-century English and European political cultures. The nine chapters address a series of important questions regarding his oeuvre that have been hitherto ignored or, at best, left unanswered. Making use of unexplored primary material and adopting an innovative contextual reading of both Patriarcha’s composition (1620s-30s) and its publication (1680), this monograph has three main strengths. Firstly, it brings new light to Patriarcha’s ideas by unveiling ignored aspects of the context in which Filmer wrote; of its language, aims and targets; of its cultural and political meanings. Secondly, the book offers a novel reading of the patriarchalist discourse and its place in early modern political culture in England and Europe. In particular, Patriarcha serves as a prism through which to see the enduring importance of the languages of patriarchalism and patriotism during the Stuart era in England. Thirdly, it gives a timely and unique explanation of why Filmer’s doctrines were amply adopted as well as strongly contested in the 1680s.
English identity and the Scottish ‘other’, 1586–1625
Jenna M. Schultz
Through dynastic accident, England and Scotland were united under King James
VI and I in 1603. To smooth the transition, officials attempted to create a
single state: Great Britain. Yet the project had a narrow appeal; the
majority of the English populace rejected a closer relationship with
Scotland. Such a strong reaction against Scotland resulted in a revived
sense of Englishness. This essay analyses English tactics to distance
themselves from the Scots through historical treatises. For centuries, the
English had created vivid histories to illuminate their ancient past. It is
evident from the historical works written between 1586 and 1625 that authors
sought to maintain a position of dominance over Scotland through veiled
political commentaries. As such, their accounts propagated an English
national identity based on a sense of historical supremacy over the
Scottish. This was further supported through the use of language studies and
archaeological evidence. After the 1603 Union of the Crowns, these stories
did not change. Yet questions arose regarding the king’s genealogy, as he
claimed descent from the great kings of both kingdoms. Consequently,
historians reinvented the past to merge their historical accounts with the
king’s ancestral claims while continuing to validate English assertions of
such a popularity was also
the fact that Bellarmine’s political opinions came under heavy fire across
europe.4 On english soil one of the most vehement reactions to them was set
forth by KingJamesVIandI.5
Branding the Jesuits a bunch of wicked ‘preachers’, in 1598 James (then
still in scotland) announced that in both england and France they had ‘busied
themselues most to stir vp rebellion vnder cloake of religion’.6 He added that
their theories promoted external intrusion into kingdoms, which led ‘to expell
and put out their rigtheous King’.7 A few years later
especially Roger Mason ed., Scots and
Britons: Scottish Political Thought and the Union of 1603
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
KingJamesVIandI, Selected Writings ,
ed. Neil Rhodes, Jennifer Richards and] Joseph Marshall (Aldershot:
Ashgate, 2003), p. 297. (All references are to this edition
succession’, in Ralph Houlbrooke (ed.), James VI and I:
Ideas, Authority and Government (Aldershot, 2006), pp. 25–42.
5 Peter C. Herman, ‘“Best of poets, best of kings”: KingJamesVIandI and the scene of
monarchic verse’, in Daniel Fischlin and Mark Fortier (eds), Royal Subjects: Essays on
the Writings of James VI and I (Detroit, MI, 2002), pp. 61–103 (p. 61).
6 For the disappointments of the Anglo-Scottish treaty, see Maurice Lee, Great Britain’s
Solomon: James VI and I in His Three Kingdoms (Urbana, IL, 1990), pp. 64–5.
7 G. P. V. Akrigg (ed.), Letters of King
Ralph Houlbrooke (ed.),
James VI and I. Ideas, Authority and Government, (Aldershot, 2006), pp. 25–42. I agree
with Dr Doran that the succession was of less importance in the 1580s but, because of
the activities of Spain and the Catholic earls, became increasingly more important in
the early 1590s. The appearance of Doleman’s treatise moved it to a higher gear.
14 See D. Harris Willson, KingJamesVIandI (London, 1956), pp. 85–95; W. B. Patterson,
KingJamesVIandI and the Reunion of Christendom (Cambridge, 1997), p. 89; Doran,
‘James VI’, p. 32.
, staged its intra- and inter-island warfare and formed its multinational writing communities. Centred chronologically by the years 1603–25, this book explores Britain and its writing subjects within the context of the unprecedented triple monarchy of the Scottish KingJamesVIandI, whose accession to the English throne in 1603 and desire for Anglo-Scottish or British union prompted his subjects to reflect on questions of cultural memory, intermingling, nationhood, national sovereignty, neighbourliness and political subjectivity/citizenship in new and exciting ways
right to resist tyrannical or
heretical princes in european disputes; to the exclusion crisis period (1679–
81) when they enjoyed a revival. Thematically rich and multivalent in scope,
Filmer’s oeuvre is thus presented as the articulation of a european mind at
work to clarify the same topics which had engaged Jean Bodin and the French
politiques, KingJamesVIandI, Thomas Hobbes, and Jesuit thinkers like
cardinal robert Bellarmine and Francisco suarez, John Locke and JacquesBénigne Bossuet.
By no means a hagiographic portrayal of Filmer nor an unhistorically