Alien Albion: Literature and Immigration in Early Modern by Scott Oldenburg

By Scott Oldenburg

Using either canonical and underappreciated texts, Alien Albion argues that early sleek England was once some distance much less unified and xenophobic than literary critics have formerly urged. Juxtaposing literary texts from the interval with felony, spiritual, and financial files, Scott Oldenburg uncovers how immigrants to England solid ties with their English hosts and the way these relationships have been mirrored in literature that imagined inclusive, multicultural communities.

Through discussions of civic pageantry, the performs of dramatists together with William Shakespeare, Thomas Dekker, and Thomas Middleton, the poetry of Anne Dowriche, and the prose of Thomas Deloney, Alien Albion demanding situations assumptions concerning the origins of English nationwide identification and the significance of spiritual, classification, and native identities within the early smooth era.

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Mary I expressed fears about the influence of immigrants, but these fears were not the sentiments expressed by her chaplain in An exhortation or by her London subjects in her royal entry; moreover Wealth and Health treats the vices of the play as distinct from the immigrant. Mary Tudor may have sought a homogenous national identity for England, but all around her were signs of early modern England’s multicultural reality. Chapter Two The Rhetoric of Religious Refuge under Elizabeth I The ascension of Elizabeth I to the throne in 1558 naturally resulted in a return of Protestant refugees who had fled to the continent, but Elizabeth’s policies were not nearly as liberal as those of her brother Edward.

The examples of Londoners actively defending strangers are even more telling. 51 A few months after Mary’s 1554 proclamation was issued, two Dutch shoemakers were arrested for loitering after dark. When it was discovered that they were non-denizens they were detained, but after nine days they were released. It seems that allies in the Cordwainers’ Company had intervened. The state and city authorities could have taken action against the strangers but decided against it, and the two shoemakers were apparently permitted to remain in London despite their violation of the anti-alien proclamation.

We have, on the one hand, anti-alien legislation and the enthusiasm of Bonner and Gardiner for eradicating Protestant refugees from the realm. On the other hand we have examples of Londoners working with and helping strangers, examples of strangers playing prominent role in Mary’s entry, the maintenance of a Protestant underground, and the economic 34 Sectarian Inclusivity well-being of the city. The idea of a homogenous, xenophobic England highlights the all-too-real tensions between immigrants and some nativeborn English throughout the early modern period, but it also obscures conflicts over right religion, city versus state authority, economic rights, and political power, all of which usually seemed more important to the English than differences between themselves and their stranger-neighbours.

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