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Title: The political use of the Spanish language in Elizabethan England, 1580-1596
Author: Crummé, Hannah Leah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 1407
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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My doctoral research demonstrates the co-dependency of Anglo-Spanish literary and political cultures and their effect on Elizabethan nation-building at the end of the sixteenth century. The fraught political situation between England and Spain endowed the Spanish language with significant power, increasing its importance at court and its prominence as a literary model. By scrutinizing the relationship with Spain posited by sixteenth century authors, scholars, and patrons, I suggest that English identity developed in relief against the idea of Spain and Spaniards. Individual chapters consider the work of Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586), Abraham Fraunce (1559?–1592/3?), Gabriel Harvey (1552/3–1631), the Earl of Leicester (1532/3–1588), and the Earl of Essex (1565–1601) and the impact of events including the attack of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and the 1596 invasion of Cadiz. The first half of my dissertation examines how two scholars imagined the political potential of their rhetoric. I use Fraunce’s Arcadian rhetorike (1588) to demonstrate that the Armada prompted English interest in the potential patriotism of the vernacular and conclude that the rhetorical guide responds to the threat of Spain by considering the poet’s role commemorating heroes. Harvey applied his logical studies of classical and contemporary poetic and martial theories to the crisis in Elizabethan foreign policy and so counterintuitively characterized his rhetorical achievements as preparation for a diplomatic career. The second half of my dissertation examines how prominent courtiers promoted themselves as mediators of Elizabeth’s foreign policy and considers how contemporary literary works contributed to this type of fashioning. A patron of lexicons and language learning manuals, the Earl of Leicester facilitated the production of Antonio del Corro’s Reglas Gramaticales (1586), and so initiated a trend in which language guides imagined possible relationships between England and Spain. Propaganda produced by various authors depicts Essex as a protector and leader of Englishmen by invoking or fabricating Spanish witnesses to the beneficence of the Earl and the cruelty of Philip. Although each of the authors, scholars, and patrons considered in this project had different and constantly changing sentiments regarding Spain, they are unified by the importance they place on the Spanish language as a tool with which to understand, and at times imagine, English foreign policy. How did Elizabethans’ invocation of the Spanish language shape the English understanding of Spain? How did exposure to the Spanish vernacular affect English poetic and rhetorical expression? Ultimately, how did these authors, patrons, and scholars reflect upon Elizabeth’s war with England’s greatest rival? These are some of the questions my dissertation seeks to address.
Supervisor: Crawforth, Hannah Jane; Massai, Sonia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available