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By Jeffrey Knapp

What prompted England's literary renaissance? One resolution has been such extraordinary advancements because the eu discovery of the United States. 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 besides, yet each in their makes an attempt to colonize the hot international truly failed. Jeffrey Knapp money owed for this unusual mixture of literary enlargement and nationwide isolation via displaying how the English made a advantage in their expanding insularity. Ranging throughout a wide range of literary and extraliterary assets, Knapp argues that English poets rejected the worldly acquisitiveness of an empire like Spain's and took satisfaction in England's fabric obstacles as an indication of its non secular energy. 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

Sample text

Unfortunately, at the time Brutus too was in danger of being cast out the cart's arse. From a fairly canonical acceptance among medieval historians, the founder of Britain had in Tudor days lost much ground, most notoriously as a result of Polydore Vergil's English History, published five years before Wyatt wrote his poem. Much of the controversy surrounding Brutus replicates the political controversy of the day. Vergil the Italian disbelieved the Brutus story, in part because no classical source mentions it; while his critic Leland, an old friend of Wyatt's, considered that omission to be proof of a British history so dazzling that the envious Romans had tried to suppress it.

41 But what must have made the New World particularly inescapable for Wyatt was the new Roman emperor's ownership of so much of it. The same month Wyatt left Spain, a triumphal arch in Florence honoring Charles showed him, in Roy Strong's words, "arrayed à l'antique, crowned with laurel and carrying the imperial sceptre, river gods at his feet, flanked, to his right, by the figures of Spain and New Mexico [sic], followed by Neptune, to show 'that the Western Ocean is dominated by his Majesty'" (Strong, Splendour, 79).

For the Tagus traditionally marks the poet's surpassing power also. As the world's golden, westw came to represent the furthest reach of merely earthly good. In perhaps the most famous of the Amores, for example, Ovid decl Verse is immortal, and shall ne'er decay. To verse let kings give place, and kingly shows, And banks o'er which gold-bearing Tagus flows. Let base-conceited wits admire vile things,         Fair Phoebus lead me to the Muses' springs.   < previous page < previous page page_55 page_56 next page > next page > Page 56 In the Tagus poem Wyatt turns away from this king-conquering poetic ambition (warranted by Apollo, the god of poetry and of the sun) just as he does from the New Worldor rather, he turns both sublimity and New World within.

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