Nation and archipelago

Maley, W. (2017) Nation and archipelago. In: Lee, J. (ed.) A Handbook of English Renaissance Literary Studies. Series: Wiley-Blackwell critical theory handbooks. Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford, pp. 173-189. ISBN 9781118458785 (doi:10.1002/9781118458747.ch12)

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This chapter explores John Milton's Observations upon the Articles of Peace with the Irish Rebels (1649), a 25,000-word treatise that is a touchstone text for a turning point in British and Irish history, a telling account of the tensions between colonialism and republicanism, and a tipping point in Milton's thinking around Archipelagic interdependence – the tied fates of the nations that make up the emerging British state. This multi-authored work, exemplary in its many-sided depiction of a pivotal point in the history of the three Stuart kingdoms of England, Ireland, and Scotland, depicts different national and religious communities responding to the execution of Charles I on January 30, 1649. Milton's commission was to address the “complication of interests” in Ireland in the wake of the killing of the king. His protean polemic captures the contradictions of a poet against empire countering a challenge to metropolitan government from a complex planter society.

Item Type:Book Sections
Keywords:John Milton, Ireland, 1649.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Maley, Professor Willy
Authors: Maley, W.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Wiley-Blackwell
First Published:First published in A Handbook of English Renaissance Literary Studies: 173-189
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the publisher.

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