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From borders to topographies: identities and expansion in British literature, 1620-1750

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Title: From borders to topographies: identities and expansion in British literature, 1620-1750
Author(s): Vanrenen, Denys
Director of Research: Markley, Robert
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Markley, Robert
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Newcomb, Lori; Pollock, Anthony; Mohamed, Feisal; Stevens, Andrea
Department / Program: English
Discipline: English
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): British literature cultural studies borders topography new world
Abstract: From Borders to Topographies examines representations of the cultural, social, and economic exchanges between the English and foreign peoples, whether in London or in the Americas, the Levant, and Far East. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, the English forged a social imaginary underwritten by their relationship to the land. I demonstrate the ways in which this imaginary transformed to incorporate the economic imperatives of rivaling Continental powers and confronting eastern empires. In this respect, I analyze the beginnings of globalization—how the English negotiated the interdependencies among peoples across the world—in the early modern period; specifically, I focus on representations of borders in early modern literature—their permeability, their shifting configurations, and the ways in which they are reinforced. I analyze how the English became increasingly obsessed with borders because of travel, trade, and colonialism; these factors then delineate economic structures and racial and ethnic categories within England. My dissertation studies the significance of perceptions of land in Jonson’s and Brome’s London and its suburbs, Andrew Marvell’s and Edmund Waller’s Bermuda and the Netherlands, Aphra Behn’s Virginia and Surinam, Montagu’s Ottoman Empire, and Daniel Defoe’s globalized vision of world trade, ranging from Crusoe’s island and South America to the Far East. In particular, I elucidate how rival factions within England and abroad—whether it is the monarchy and developers versus commoners struggling to rule London’s expanding suburbs, or Royalists versus Puritans clashing to signify land in the Americas, or Europeans versus other Europeans attempting to gain control of contested regions in the Levant and the Far East—lay claim to the land in order to augment their power.
Issue Date: 2012-09-18
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/34573
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Denys Vanrenen
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-09-18
Date Deposited: 2012-08
 

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