An Empire Nowhere: England, America, and Literature from by Jeffrey Knapp

By Jeffrey Knapp

What prompted England's literary renaissance? One solution has been such unparalleled advancements because the eu discovery of the US. but England within the 16th century was once faraway from an increasing country. not just did the Tudors lose England's sole closing possessions at the Continent and, because of the Reformation, develop spiritually divided from the Continent besides, yet each in their makes an attempt to colonize the hot international truly failed. Jeffrey Knapp debts for this unusual mix of literary growth and nationwide isolation through exhibiting how the English made a advantage in their expanding insularity. Ranging throughout a big selection of literary and extraliterary resources, Knapp argues that English poets rejected the worldly acquisitiveness of an empire like Spain's and took delight in England's fabric barriers as an indication of its religious power. within the imaginary worlds of such fictions as Utopia , The Faerie Queene , and The Tempest , they sought a grander empire, based at the ''otherworldly'' virtues of either England and poetry itself.

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But More's insistence that special signs of reference to England, such as London-like Amaurotum and Thames-like Anydrus, be negative"Shadow City" and "Waterless"also suggests that what Utopia and England share is precisely the negativity constituted in toto by Utopian insularity. And in fact, when in the prefatory material to  < previous page < previous page page_31 page_32 next page > next page > Page 3 Page 3 31 32 Figure 1. )  < previous page < previous page page_32 page_34 next page > next page > Page 34 Utopia "Anemolius" has Utopia say that "the ancients called me Utopia or Nowhere because of my isolation" (20/21), he cannot tightly mean Utopus's Utopia, about which the ancients knew nothing.

In fact I see myself already crowned with that distinguished diadem of corn-ears, a splendid sight in my Franciscan robe, bearing that venerable scepter consisting of a sheaf of corn, and accompanied by a distinguished company of citizens of Amaurote. (Erasmus, Correspondence 4:163) Â < previous page < previous page page_50 page_51 next page > next page > This jeu d'esprit on the vanity of Nowhere and Shadow City, then on the vanity of More's pride in them, and finally on quickly modulates into an attack borrowed from Utopia on the inanity of real kings: Thus equipped, at the head of a long procession, I greet the envoys and the rulers of other countries, who are greatly to be pitied compared with us, however much they may foolishly pride themselves on their childish finery and the women's ornaments with which they are bedizened, loaded with chains of contemptible gold and made to look absurd with purple and gems and other such airy nothings [bullatis nugis].

Collected Poems, 25) The first two lines nicely capture the mystery of Wyatt's restraint: does "bridled of my mind" mean bridled by my mind, in respect to my mind, or according to my mind? And whose is the "force express"? Still more striking in relation to the Tagus poem is another gainward journey, "Returning me backward''; yet here no geography accounts for Wyatt's awkward trajectory. Instead, the poem offers itself as an image of Wyatt's backwardness, for to be writing a poemand one, moreover, addressed not to Wyatt's beloved but to his own heartmeans that Wyatt must of necessity have turned from his beloved.

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