The Elizabethan conquest of Ireland sparked off two linguistic events of enduring importance: it initiated the language shift from Irish to English, which constitutes the great drama of Irish cultural history, and it marked the beginnings of English linguistic expansion. The Elizabethan colonisers in Ireland included some of the leading poets and translators of the day. In Language and Conquest in Early Modern Ireland, Patricia Palmer uses their writings, as well as material from the State Papers, to explore the part which language played in shaping colonial ideology and English national identity. Palmer shows how manoeuvres of linguistic expansion rehearsed in Ireland shaped Englishmen's encounters with the languages of the New World, and frames that analysis within a comparison between English linguistic colonisation and Spanish practice in the New World. This is an ambitious, comparative study which will interest literary and political historians.
'A fine study ... a nuanced and densely layered work.' Times Literary Supplement 'Patricia Palmer's important book ... is passionately committed but never loses sight of hardheaded scholarship and manages to be both engaging and angrily polemical.' Modern Language Review