Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama by Lloyd Edward Kermode

By Lloyd Edward Kermode

Overlaying a wide selection of performs from 1550-1600, together with Shakespeare's moment tetralogy, this ebook explores ethical, historic, and comedian performs as contributions to Elizabethan debates on Anglo-foreign kinfolk in England. the commercial, social, non secular, and political matters that arose from inter-British touch and Continental immigration into England are reinvented and rehearsed at the public level. Kermode uncovers extensive 'alien stages' within the drama: designated yet overlapping techniques wherein the alien was once used to posit principles and beliefs of Englishness. Many reviews of English nationwide id pit Englishness opposed to the alien 'other' in order that the local self and the alien settle into antithetical positions. by contrast, extraterrestrial beings and Englishness reads a physique of performs that symbolize Englishness as a kingdom of ideological, invented superiority - sarcastically sturdy in its consistent changeability, and taken into being via incorporating and at last accepting, or even celebrating, instead of rejecting the alien.

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Extra resources for Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama

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In this chapter, I am looking out at the alien through canonical English texts, a point of view that has been a particular bone of contention in British studies. J. G. A. Pocock warned us over thirty years ago that ‘the history of an increasing English domination is remarkably difficult to write in other than English terms’. 36 Re-reading through the English lens does not necessitate a perpetuation of early modern ideology. As we will see, taking on the English point of view through English texts cannot concretely, imperviously, or reliably lay down an English law of national identity, but instead forces us to question the assumptions and presumptions that lie behind such a construction.

Illwill enters as the vice ‘with some jest’ (B2), but he has also been summoned like a devil; Liberty has simply mentioned ‘wyll’ and the vice 36 Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama appears with ‘Mar[r]y I am come at the first call’ (B2). Like a devil (and like a Catholic Spaniard to the reforming Protestant English in a 1558 or later text), Will is a self-confessed ‘chylde that is pas[t] grace’ (B3), an epithet echoed by Remedy in his interrogation of Will and Wit, whom he calls two ‘chyldren that be past grace’ (C3v).

Illwill (presenting himself as plain ‘Will’) enters ‘with some jest’ and insinuates his way into the identities of the other characters on stage and through them to all men and women; Shrewdwit (alias Wit) joins Will as partner. The drunken Dutchman, Hance, enters with a song and the worrying claim that England is mistaken if it thinks it is a wealthy (and therefore healthy) country, for its riches are being scattered abroad. Wit and Will win places in the service of Wealth, Health, and Liberty (who do not quite cotton onto their deception), and they leave the stage just as Remedy enters lamenting the state of the realm and the need for moral reformation.

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