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

By Jeffrey Knapp

What brought on England's literary renaissance? One resolution has been such extraordinary advancements because the ecu discovery of the US. but England within the 16th century was once faraway from an increasing state. 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 global really failed. Jeffrey Knapp bills for this unusual mixture of literary enlargement and nationwide isolation through displaying how the English made a advantage in their expanding insularity. Ranging throughout a big selection of literary and extraliterary assets, Knapp argues that English poets rejected the worldly acquisitiveness of an empire like Spain's and took delight in England's fabric obstacles 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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An Empire Nowhere: England, America, and Literature from Utopia to The Tempest

What brought on England's literary renaissance? One solution has been such unparalleled advancements because the ecu discovery of the US. but England within the 16th century used to be faraway from an increasing state. not just did the Tudors lose England's sole closing possessions at the Continent and, due to the Reformation, develop spiritually divided from the Continent in addition, yet each in their makes an attempt to colonize the recent international truly failed.

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In the Dorp letter, More fancies himself among the separate British while he is actually on the Continent, as if he can appreciate England's other-worldliness only from the external perspective that his Continental admirers possess. Utopia, begun by More while on the Continent and set in the time of his stay there, asks its readers to look west < previous page < previous page page_34 page_35 next page > next page > Page 35 ward both to England and beyond, thus highlighting the fact that America and England are equally aparted: each apart from, and between, the Old World setting of book 1 and the Utopia of book 2.

Rather than jo that one should prefer before "all the gold that the rivers Tagus & pactolus reverse and turn in their red sands," 76 or to dream of empire arising from an other-worldly island within old-worldly bounds, from desires and powers transcenden England so as to render them objectless, free, and yet with an object in view. This logic, too, is more familiar as a featu for instance, Wyatt complains of the perversity with which Cupid has afflicted him: He hath made me regard God much less than I ought, And to myself to take right little heed, And for a woman have I set at nought All other thoughts, in this only to speed.

In fact, the nearer England comes to seeming not only a separate world but a wasteland, the nearer it approaches the portentous island of Brutus's dreams. For to a degree neither Brutus nor modem commentators recognize, Diana as what Brutus calls the "terror of the forest glades, yet hope of the wild woodlands" (Geoffrey, History, 65)the goddess of uncultivated grounddirects the course of Brutus's story throughout. Brutus is exiled from Italy for accidentally killing his father, Silvius, during a hunt (55); he aids fellow Trojans who, to escape slavery to the Greek king Pandarus, have fled to the woods (56); he defeats Pandarus in part by ambushing him in the woods (59-60); the first thing the Trojans do when they land at deserted Leogetia, the island where Diana prophesies a British empire, is to kill "all sorts of wild animals  < previous page < previous page page_42 page_43 next page > next page > Page 43 which they had discovered between the forest pastures and the woodlands" (64); trouble starts in Gaul when Corineus and his men go hunting in the king's forest (67); Corineus scatters the Gauls in a final battle by attacking from "a neighboring wood" in which he was concealed (70-71); and, except for "a few giants," Albion proves a deserted wilderness (72).

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