Chapter

Pre‐nation and Post‐nation

Ardis Butterfield

in The Familiar Enemy

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199574865
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722127 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574865.003.0001
Pre‐nation and Post‐nation

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The introductory chapter sets out the double perspective of the book through the eyes of two Jersey writers, Wace and Victor Hugo. It then considers the role Chaucer has played as ‘father’ to English and Englishness, and argues that decoupling Chaucer from ‘English’ may help us to grasp both Chaucer and Englishness more clearly. Two further threads, on ‘England's vernaculars’ and the constant presence of war, are unwound to give context to the wide range of English and French writings that are discussed throughout the book as a whole. The conclusion asks where the medieval belongs in a construction of nation as modern, and suggests that there might be much to connect current ‘post‐national’ anxieties about ideologies of nation and the ‘pre‐national’ Middle Ages.

Keywords: Wace; Victor Hugo; vernacular; nation; national ideologies; Englishness; Chaucer; war

Chapter.  17042 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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