Britain’s Bourse: cultural and literary exchanges between England and the Low Countries in the early modern era (c. 1580-1620)

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Higgins, Siobhán
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University College Cork
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This thesis presents the argument that Anglo-Dutch military contact during the late sixteenth and early to mid seventeenth century created a body of English literature, or even a genre of early modern literature that could be labelled as Anglo-Dutch in origin. This thesis contends that much of this literature was created by a network of Anglo-Dutch writers, translators, soldiers, patrons, and courtiers who used literature as a means of ‘co-optive or soft power’ (Nye 166), to spread the ideological appeal of a cultural, political, and religious Anglo-Dutch alliance. Evidence and arguments are presented to show how Anglo-Dutch texts were used as tools by an English political faction to increase, and sometimes decrease, the ideological appeal of militant Protestantism and transfer this appeal into popular support for many issues, such as support for Calvinism and the continuation of English militancy in continental Europe, acceptance of the Low Countries community in London, and encouragement for English Protestant military leaders in foreign service. This thesis also discusses a range of early modern drama and argues that dramatists used Anglo-Dutch pamphlet literature to provide contexts for viewing the alliance with the Dutch, the acceptance of Low Countries exiles in London, and the open debating of Dutch political events, such as the execution of Sir Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. To frame this argument the study focuses on three areas: how Dutch history shapes Anglo-Dutch exchanges; the key role of cultural history and ideas of local and non-localised communities in exploring the multiple levels on which Anglo-Dutch exchanges operate; and finally, how recent theorisations of exchange lead us to focus on ideological, religious, and military communities, and the production of literature of these groups as a key features of these exchanges.
Anglo-Dutch , Thomas Dekker , Sir Horace Vere , Sir John van Olden Barnevelt , John Marston , Henry Hexham , London city comedy , Military poetry , The Dutch courtesan , Early modern drama , Early modern poetry , Military literature , Cultural exchange
Higgins, S. 2017. Britain’s Bourse: cultural and literary exchanges between England and the Low Countries in the early modern era (c. 1580-1620). PhD Thesis, University College Cork.