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Title: Antiquarianism and regionalism, 1580-1640
Author: Roebuck, Thomas
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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The last thirty years of Renaissance scholarship has debated the extent to which the origins of English nationalism can be traced back to the early-modern period. Countering the scepticism of modernists like Gellner, who date the rise of nationalism to the eighteenth century, Richard Helgerson and others have argued that the literary, legal, theatrical, and religious cultures of the period all present evidence for the existence of an early-modern English nationalism. Historiography has always been key to these debates: national identity is defined by creating histories and modes of historical thought suitable for the needs of that nation. This thesis will show that early-modern culture can better be interpreted through an understanding of its prevailing 'regionalism', and that local affiliations to places, counties, institutions, or patronage circles are obscured by a teleological interest in the rise of nationalism. The first chapter presents a re-evaluation of British antiquarianism from the perspective of the history of scholarship. It argues both that antiquarianism was an outgrowth of the transnational world of Latin scholarship, and that regional histories were emerging through the work of devolved networks of scholars. The second chapter considers two poets, one the poet of nationalism (Spenser), the other the poet of metropolitanism (Jonson), and through picking apart their encounters• with early-modern antiquarianism shows that each had complex regional affinities. The third chapter, on drama in the regions, shows that the circumstances of dramatic performance make for unique (and problematic) encounters with regional jurisdictions. The history play, and the historical scholarship of early-modern dramatists, are the focus here. And finally a chapter on Milton explores the impact of the polarising effect of the civil war on clerical erudition
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available