Writing the Nation in Reformation England is a major re-evaluation of English writing between 1530 and 1580. Studying authors such as Andrew Borde, John Leland, William Thomas, Thomas Smith, and Thomas Wilson, Cathy Shrank highlights the significance of these decades to the formation of English nationhood and examines the impact of the break with Rome on the development of a national language, literary style, and canon. As well as demonstrating the close relationship between literary culture and English identities, it reinvests Tudor writers with a sense of agency. As authors, counselors, and thinkers they were active citizens participating within, and helping to shape, a national community. In the process, their works were also used to project an image of themselves as authors, playing--and fitted to play--their part in the public domain. In showing how these writers engaged with, and promoted, concepts of national identity, the book makes a significant contribution to our broader understanding of the early modern period, demonstrating that nationhood was not a later Elizabethan phenomenon, and that the Reformation had an immediate impact of English culture, before England emerged as a "Protestant" nation.
"Shrank has made a significant contribution to the cultural history of Tudor England."--Sixteenth Century Journal
"Shrank offers a fresh, important study to seven key figures in English humanism.... This is an excellent book, clearly written and meticulously researched. Essential."--Choice
1: Andrew Borde: Authorship and Identity in Reformation England
2: John Leland and the Bowels of Antiquity
3: William Thomas and the Riches of the Vulgar Tongue
4: Thomas Smith and the Senate of Letters
5: Thomas Wilson and the Limits of English Rhetoric
6: Workshops of the New Poetry: The 'Shepheardes Calender' and 'Old Arcadia'