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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This chapter intends to uncover what writers meant when they invoked Englishness in the period roughly from 1550 to 1650. The English quickly caught on to the early-modern virus for typologies: for assessing and judging 'national types'. The subject is a large one and in focusing on the century between 1550 and 1650, the study offers only a partial view of what is habitually taken to constitute the early-modern period. The object will be to cast the net as widely as possibly so as to trace the contours of this language across diverse sorts of texts. Questions about what it was to be English were most often asked in the form of what it was to be an Englishman, thus bringing into sharp focus the rhetoric of gender, which constitutes a very obvious avenue of approach into the subject. Englishness certainly could not be taken for granted.

Keywords: Englishman; Englishness

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