Neptune to the Common-wealth of England (1652): the republican Britannia and the continuity of interests

Maley, W. (2018) Neptune to the Common-wealth of England (1652): the republican Britannia and the continuity of interests. Seventeenth Century, 33(4), pp. 463-483. (doi: 10.1080/0268117X.2018.1484633)

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In the seventeenth century, John Kerrigan reminds us, “models of empire did not always turn on monarchy”. In this essay, I trace a vision of “Neptune’s empire” shared by royalists and republicans, binding English national interest to British overseas expansion. I take as my text a poem entitled “Neptune to the Common-wealth of England”, prefixed to Marchamont Nedham’s 1652 English translation of Mare Clausum (1635), John Selden’s response to Mare Liberum (1609) by Hugo Grotius. This minor work is read alongside some equally obscure and more familiar texts in order to point up the ways in which it speaks to persistent cultural and political interests. I trace the afterlife of this verse, its critical reception and its unique status as a fragment that exemplifies the crossover between colonial republic and imperial monarchy at a crucial moment in British history, a moment that, with Brexit, remains resonant.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Maley, Professor Willy
Authors: Maley, W.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Seventeenth Century
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):2050-4616
Published Online:17 September 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Seventeenth Century
First Published:First published in Seventeenth Century 33(4):463-483
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
688751John Milton's History of Britain: Writing the NationWilly MaleyLeverhulme Trust (LEVERHUL)RF-2015-069CRIT - ENGLISH LITERATURE