The historical resonances of the concept of 'Britain' for the communities of the Atlantic Archipelago in the early modern period are explored here in terms of the ideological demands made upon it. This collection makes a special contribution to the development of the 'new British history', and represents a further corrective to the Anglocentric bias of traditional British history. The book sheds light on current debates on 'the Union' and devolution as well as on the continuing 'Irish problem'.
Various and competing concepts of Britishness are examined, from the Henrician legislation which united Wales with England and which created the kingdom of Ireland, to the Act of Union of the realms of England and Scotland. The chequered history of the consciousness of Britain as a polity which embraced the united kingdoms is discussed in relation to the distinctive national identities of the constituent countries, and the question of the impact of 'Britain' on English policy-making under the Tudor, Stuart and the first Hanoverian monarchs is addressed. The puzzling resistance of the Irish to assimilation in contrast to the docility of the Welsh and - eventually - of the Scots is also explored.
Contributors: Peter Roberts, Brendan Bradshaw, Marc Caball, Andrew Hadfield,Willy Maley, Alan Ford, Philip Jenkins, Keith M. Brown, Jane Dawson, Jim Smyth, Colin Kidd
1. Tudor Wales, national identity and the British inheritance (Peter Roberts)
2. The English Reformation and identity formation in Ireland and Wales (Brendan Bradshaw)
3. Faith, culture and sovereignty: Irish nationality and its development, 1558–1625 (Marc Caball)
4. From English to British literature: John Lyly's Euphues and Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene (Andrew Hadfield)
5. The British problem in three tracts on Ireland by Spenser, Bacon and Milton (Willy Maley)
6. James Ussher and the creation of an Irish Protestant identity (Alan Ford)
7. Seventeenth-century Wales: definition and identity (Philip Jenkins)
8. Scottish identity in the seventeenth century (Keith M. Brown)
9. The gaidhealtachd and the emergence of the Scottish Highlands (Jane Dawson)
10. Anglo-Irish unionist discourse, c.1656–1707: from Harrington to Fletcher (Jim Smyth)
Protestantism, constitutionalism and British identity under the later Stuarts (Colin Kidd.)