National Myth and Imperial Fantasy: Representations of Britishness on the Early Eighteenth-Century Stage

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Abstract

Although eighteenth-century drama has been dismissed as stylistically homogenous, aesthetically uninteresting, and even politically complacent, National Myth and Imperial Fantasy reveals the intriguing and intricate nature of the period’s history plays. As a body of texts, these plays disclose the conflicts and concerns of contemporary political and private lives, creating, for modern readers, a picture of the period’s instabilities. Through their often messy dramatisations of the complexities of patriotic rhetoric and national identification, they reflect a world of contrasts, where the shrinking globe gives rise to increasing commercial and imperial possibilities, and where fantasies and mythologies of Britishness vie to construct a cohesive image of the nation as a dominant colonial power. Examining representations of the nation’s imagined patriotic predecessors and historical enemies, both foreign and domestic, National Myth and Imperial Fantasy offers one of the first close readings of a series of lesser known yet historically vital dramas. Introduction: Dramatising Britain: Nation, Fantasy and the London Stage, 1719-1745 Ancient Britons and Liberty Kings, Ministers and Favourites, the National Myth in Peril Shakespeare, the National Scaffold Britain, Empire and Julius Caesar Turks, Christians and Imperial Fantasy Conclusion: History, Fantasy and the Staging of Britishness Bibliography Index LOUISE MARSHALL lectures in Restoration and eighteenth-century literature at the Department of English and Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University, UK. She has written several articles that discuss the political resonance of the early eighteenth-century stage and the dramatic representation of mythologies of Britishness.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages240
Edition1st
ISBN (Print)9780230573376
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2008

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