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Queen and Country

The Relation between the Monarch and the People in the Development of the English Nation

Edited By Giuseppe Brunetti and Alessandra Petrina

Focussing on the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, this collection of essays investigates the relation between the Queen and her subjects, which shapes contemporary and future politics and is actively crucial in the debate upon the divine right of kings. The book explores the ways in which political power, intensely aware of the possibilities of literature, encourages, ostracizes or manipulates the production of writing. Through the act of writing, the Queen and her country communicate: the moulding of this act of communication is no minor task for the Queen, no minor privilege for her country. The book investigates the Queen’s own writings, with particular attention to her poems and the speeches to the nation; the production of literary culture during her reign, including the presence of oppositional voices; and the treatment of her image and memory, as well as her political legacy, during the reign of James I and Charles I.

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Section 3: After Elizabeth

Extract

VALENTINA BRICCHI ‘Che più gran cosa può desiderar un prencipe da i suoi sugetti?’: Monarchy and Power in John Florio’s Works John Florio was one of the Italians who played a fundamental role in the shaping of the English national identity in the sixteenth and seven- teenth centuries. The presence in England of merchants, lawyers, preachers and literates coming from the continent made the cultural outline of Early Modern England very interesting and complex. In many cases the English ‘learnt’ the idea of nation simply in opposition to what they could not and did not want to be. The relationship with Italy and the Italian culture proved to be extremely important, al- though sometimes dramatically complex. It is quite inconceivable now to think of the English Renaissance without acknowledging the im- mense influence Italian culture had on it. Florio was one of the many foreigners England harboured during the sixteenth century, but he was no longer involved in the theological and doctrinal arguments that forced religious refugees, like his father Michelangelo, to leave the continent and take refuge in England in the mid-1550s. In 1550 his father had been appointed preacher of the nas- cent Italian Protestant church in London and granted an annuity by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and Sir William Cecil. His fortune there lasted only for a few years and was never to be fully enjoyed by his family nor by him: they had to leave England after the Marian edict of 1554, when their son was...

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