This volume contains primary materials and introductory essays on the historical, critical and theoretical study of "national literature", focusing on the years 1550 – 1850 and the impact of ideas of nationhood from this period on contemporary literature and culture.
The book is helpfully divided into three comprehensive parts. Part One contains a selection of primary materials from various English-speaking nations, written between the early modern and the early Victorian eras. These include political essays, poetry, religious writing, and literary theory by major authors and thinkers ranging from Edmund Spenser, Anne Bradstreet and David Hume to Adam Kidd and Peter Du Ponceau. Parts Two and Three contain critical essays by leading scholars in the field: Part Two introduces and contextualizes the primary material and Part Three brings the discussion up-to-date by discussing its impact on contemporary issues such as canon-formation and globalization.
The volume is prefaced by an extensive introduction to and overview of recent studies in nationalism, the history and debates of nationalism through major literary periods and discussion of why the question of nationhood is important.
Reading the Nation in English is a comprehensive resource, offering coherent, accessible readings on the ideologies, discourses and practices of nationhood.
Contributors: Terence N. Bowers, Andrea Cabajsky, Sarah Corse, Andrew Escobedo, Andrew Hadfield, Deborah Madsen, Elizabeth Sauer, Imre Szeman, Julia M. Wright.
Table of Contents
Introduction, by Elizabeth Sauer and Julia M. Wright Part 1: Writing the Nation, c. 1550-1850 1. From The Complaynt of Scotland (1549?) 2. From John Foxe, Actes and Monuments (1563) 3. From Edmund Spenser, A View of the State of Ireland (1596) 4. From Richard Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation (1599); Hakluyt, The Third and Last Volume (1600) 5. From The King James Bible (1611) 6. John Lilburne, William Walwyn, Thomas Prince, Richard Overton, An Agreement of the Free People of England (1649) 7. Anne Bradstreet, "A Dialogue between Old England and New, concerning their present troubles. Anno 1642" (1650) 8. From John Milton, A Defence of the People of England (1651; 1692) 9. From Daniel Defoe, The Original Power of the Collective Body of the People of England, Examined and Asserted (1702) 10. From Jonathan Swift, A Letter to the Whole People of Ireland (1724) 11. From David Hume, "Of National Characters" (1748) 12. From Henry Home, Sketches of the History of Man (1774) 13. From Thomas Cary, Abram’s Plains: A Poem (1789) 14. Anna Letitia Barbauld, "To a Great Nation" (1793) 15. From William Drennan, Letter to the Right Honorable William Pitt (1799) 16. "Of a National Character in Literature" (1818) 17. From Lady Sydney Morgan, "Absenteeism.—No. III" (1825) 18. Adam Kidd, "Preface" and "Cathleen" from The Huron Chief, and Other Poems (1830) 19. From Peter Du Ponceau, A Discourse on the Necessity and the Means of Making our National Literature Independent of that of Great Britain (1834) 20. "National Character" (1843) 21. From Giuseppe Mazzini, "Europe: Its Condition and Prospects" (1852) Part 2: Reading the Nation, c. 1550-1850 1. Andrew Hadfield, "Nationhood and the English Renaissance" 2. Elizabeth Sauer, "The Translation of Peculiar Status in Early Modern England" 3. Terence N. Bowers, "Nationhood in the Age of Enlightenment" 4. Julia M. Wright, "Nationalist Discourses in the British Isles, 1780-1850" 5. Deborah Madsen, "From Colony to Republic: Building the American Nation" 6. Andrea Cabajsky, "Occupation, Assimilation, Partnership: Canadian Literature in English and French, 1769-1899" Part 3: Modern Perspectives 7. Andrew Escobedo, "No Early-Modern Nations? Revising Modern Theories of Nationhood" 8. Sarah M. Corse, "Nationalism and Canon-formation" 9. Imre Szeman, "Nationalism and Globalization" Notes on Contributors