The subject of Britain, 1603-25

By Christopher Ivic

The subject of Britain, 1603-25


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8870-4
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2020
  • BIC Category: History, Early Modern History, Early Modern Literature, Literature, History, HISTORY / General, HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700, Humanities / British & Irish history
  • Series: Manchester University Press


The subject of Britain analyses key seventeenth-century texts by Bacon, Jonson and Shakespeare within the context of the English reign of King James VI and I, whose desire to create a united Britain prompted serious reflection on questions of nationhood. This book traces writing on Britain and Britishness in succession literature, panegyric, Union tracts and treatises, play-texts and atlases. Focusing on texts printed in London and Edinburgh, as well as manuscript material that circulated within and across Britain and Ireland, this book sheds valuable light on texts in relation to the wider geopolitical context that informed their production. Combining literary criticism with political analysis and book history, The subject of Britain offers a fresh approach to a significant moment in British history, and will appeal to postgraduates and undergraduates of early modern British literary history.


'... An absorbing and timely book.'
Early Modern Literary Studies

'. With its scrupulous close readings of an array of literary and political texts, including some that are little-known and others that have rarely been considered in this context, The Subject of Britain sheds powerful new light on what Britishness meant or could mean in the early years of the seventeenth century.'
The seventeenth century

'A lively, intelligent work that demonstrates how much more work needs to be done on ideas of Britain and Britishness.'
Andrew Hadfield, Journal of British Studies


Introduction: accession, union, nationhood
1 'Englands King is comming to be Croun'd': English responses to the accession of King James VI and I
2 'This mighty worke of vnion': imagining union in early Jacobean panegyric
3 'But when this island shall be made Britain': Hume, Bacon, Britain and Britishness
4 'Our downfall Birthdome': reimagining nationhood in Macbeth
5 Conclusion: the Jacobean writing of Britain


Christopher Ivic is Senior Lecturer in English at Bath Spa University

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