Gillian Brennan examines national consciousness, language and literature in 16th century England. She explores patriotism and discusses its nature, the different modes of cultural expression it finds, and analyses its use in political and religious propaganda.
The author draws a distinction between nationalism and patriotism, investigates the etymology of both words and sets out to examine the connotations of patriotism in its own right – not as being nascent nationalism. Surprising disparities appear between loyalty to the nation and loyalty to the crown and the author reveals the monarch’s ambivalent attitude to patriotism and challenges the perceived unified national spirit in Elizabeth’s reign by examining a range of literature of the period.
Patriotism in drama and in poetry is examined and in this way Brennan gives the reader a new and exciting perspective on many aspects of life and perception in the sixteenth century.