Literature and London

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London twas thou that didst thy Prince betray And could thy sable vent no other way. Fragment of anonymous elegy on Charles I, Cardiff Central Library, ms 1.482, fo. 33v Contexts and conditions As Chapter 21 in this volume demonstrates, the civil crisis of the mid-century was one that embraced three kingdoms and a principality. It drew England into several armed conflicts with other west European states: most significantly, that other maritime and Protestant power, the United Provinces. Additionally, the literary consequences of the war of the three kingdoms, and the First Dutch War (1652-4), were felt in the English language used in the provinces, in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, in the Celtic language cultures of these places, and in Dutch literature. London, however, was at the heart of the Civil War, and understanding its unique role is one of the keys to understanding the nature of the English Revolution and the literary innovations of these years. London was important not merely because it was the capital city of the nation, the major centre of population and of commerce. It was also near the places where government occurred and where the theatre of state played itself out. London’s peculiar urban culture gave the capital a life of its own. We might more accurately say, a set of lives, since in the twenty years of Civil War, revolution and experimentation with non-monarchical forms of government, various forces would emerge from London culture and have a decisive effect on the turn of events in the nation at large.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Early Modern English Literature
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781139053495
ISBN (Print)0521631564, 9780521631563
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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