On the title page of a first edition of Britannia (1586), an anonymous sixteenth-century reader has written that he cannot tell ‘why [each] mans mynde in natyve soyle takes much delight’ but ‘that [each] mans mynde is myndfull styll of that delight: I wote that well.’1 This observation affirms the early modern fascination with ‘natyve soyle’ that this book has been trying to trace — a fascination that writers like Camden both reflected and helped create. At the same time, the reader also suggests a certain inexplicability to this attraction. He doesn’t know why people love their native land; he just knows that they do. This book has also attempted to shed light on that paradox, by trying to offer reasons why English writers were imaginatively drawn to the particular villages, parishes, towns, and counties that composed their larger nation.
KeywordsSeventeenth Century Sixteenth Century Local Distinction Native Land Local Place
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- 2.Alexander Pope, ‘Windsor Forest,’ The Poems of Alexander Pope, gen. ed. John Butt, Vol. I (ed. E. Audra and Aubrey Williams, London: Methuen, 1961), pp. 149–150, lines 14–16.Google Scholar
- 3.Pope, ‘Epistle to Burlington,’ The Poems of Alexander Pope, gen. ed. John Butt, Vol. III-ii (ed. F. W. Bateson, 1951), p. 142, line 57.Google Scholar
- 4.Richard Helgerson, Forms of Nationhood: The Elizabethan Writing of England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 136, 146.Google Scholar