Betrayal and Nation

Ardis Butterfield

in The Familiar Enemy

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199574865
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722127 | DOI:
Betrayal and Nation

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The book concludes with the two most celebrated symbols of Anglo‐French nation‐building, Jeanne d'Arc and Shakespeare's Henry V. Jeanne's story occurs in the last stages of the Hundred Years War, in a period where early modern historians have conventionally sought to locate the birth of nationhood. Reclaimed repeatedly for different ideological ends, her case exemplifies the contortions and contradictions of nationalist assertion. Shakespeare acts with analogous power to articulate a drama of nation that has proved infinitely appropriable to modern histories of English and Englishness. Just as Chaucer has been used retrospectively to create an incipient Englishness well before its time, so Shakespeare's French Catherine has served as a type of subservient Frenchness to an inflated English patriotism. Yet in both writers we see a long history of creative linguistic friction that bears witness to the contrariness of the categories of ‘English’ and ‘French’ in the medieval period.

Keywords: Jeanne d'Arc/Joan of Arc; Shakespeare; Henry V/Henry V; Hundred Years War; nation; Englishness; Frenchness; patriotism

Chapter.  21896 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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