Reforming nationhood : England in the literature of the Tudor imperial age, 1509-1553
The thesis explores the relationship between empire and nationhood in the literature of the Royal Supremacy. In so doing, it contests the assumptions of the social historians Michel Foucault, Benedict Anderson, Jürgen Habermas, and Ernest Gellner - all of whom have dated the dawn of the nation-event on our Western political horizons from the end of the eighteenth century. The thesis invites important outcomes for our perception of early Tudor political culture, and for our wider appreciation of the origins of English national identity. It differentiates the Habsburg imperial idea from the Tudor ideology of empire inherited by Henry VIII upon his accession in 1509. It then distinguishes both these imperial ideologies from Henry's pretensions, as enshrined in the 1533 Appeals Act, to empire in the English Church. Despite these differences between the Habsburg and Tudor ideologies of empire, each received identical expression in propaganda that identified both England and the Holy Roman Empire with Virgil's Golden Age. The first two chapters explore the Golden Age motif in pageantry produced for the joint London Entry of Henry VIII and Charles V (1522), and for the Entry of Anne Boleyn in 1533. Chapter Two concludes that the function of the 1533 Entry as propaganda for the Royal Supremacy was undermined by the similarities between its stagecraft and that of the 1522 Entry.