By Jeffrey Knapp
What brought on England's literary renaissance? One resolution has been such unparalleled advancements because the ecu discovery of the US. but England within the 16th century was once faraway from an increasing kingdom. not just did the Tudors lose England's sole final possessions at the Continent and, because of the Reformation, develop spiritually divided from the Continent besides, yet each one in their makes an attempt to colonize the hot international truly failed. Jeffrey Knapp money owed for this unusual mixture 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 boundaries as an indication of its non secular 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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Additional info for An Empire Nowhere: England, America, and Literature from Utopia to The Tempest
56 Apparently at odds with the Venetian who scorns England for thinking itself all the world, this astrological theory of English moÂ < previous page < previous page page_47 page_48 next page > next page > Page 48 bility actually follows from the idea of England's apartness also, and thus helps account for Thorne's own both insularist and expansionist view of his native island. England had seemed to the ancients another worldeven at first "a fable and a lie" (Plutarch, Lives 5:25)because it was not only separate from the Continent and barbarously distant from Rome but also too far north; to the ancients, that is, the always unsettled moon presided over a clime that itself appeared unsettleable.
From this perspective, More's sedentariness looks like a national condition; if the English in general seem indifferent to the New World, perhaps that is because their island is all the world they desire. The Utopians, as colonizers, may appear less exclusively attached to their own island, yet it defines their national identity as surely as the Venetian thinks England's geography defines the English. 22 For Utopia becomes a separate world, a negative, a nowhere, only when it also becomes insular: by ordering a fifteen-mile excavation, the ancient conqueror Utopus converted a peninsula named Abraxa into the island of Utopia (U, 112/13).
The Utopians, as colonizers, may appear less exclusively attached to their own island, yet it defines their national identity as surely as the Venetian thinks England's geography defines the English. 22 For Utopia becomes a separate world, a negative, a nowhere, only when it also becomes insular: by ordering a fifteen-mile excavation, the ancient conqueror Utopus converted a peninsula named Abraxa into the island of Utopia (U, 112/13). The story seems to glance at an apparently contemporaneous theory that England itself had once been a peninsula,23 and therefore to hint as well at more extensive parallels between the English and Utopian isles.