Shakespeare, Spenser and the Matter of Britain shows that an understanding of the relationship between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland is crucial to the study of Renaissance English literature. Andrew Hadfield demonstrates that the poetry of Edmund Spenser and the plays of William Shakespeare demand to be read in terms of an expanding Elizabethan and Jacobean culture in which a dominant English identity had to come to terms with the Irish, Scots and Welsh who were now also subjects of the crown. Both writers were painfully aware that England could not exist alone, and that interacting with the other British nations would transform the variety of English identities formed in the wake of the Reformation. This important work has extensive analysis of Macbeth, Cymbeline, Henry V, Troilus and Cressida, The Faerie Queene and A View of the Present State of Ireland, and also of the works of such major writers as George Buchanan, John Lyly, John Bale, Thomas Harriot and Michael Drayton.

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