The Country and the City Revisited: England and the Politics of Culture, 1550-1850

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Between 1550 and 1850, the great age of mercantilism, the English people remade themselves from a disparate group of individuals and localities divided by feudal loyalties, dialects and even languages, into an imperial power. Examining literature, art and social life, and returning to ground first explored by Raymond Williams in his seminal work, The Country and the City Revisited traces this transformation. It shows that what Williams figured as an urban-rural dichotomy can now be more satisfactorily grasped as a permeable boundary. While the movement of sugar, tobacco and tea became ever more deeply interfused with the movement of people, through migration and the slave trade, these commodities initiated new conceptions of space, time and identity. Spanning the traditional periods of the Renaissance and Romanticism, this collection of essays offers exciting interdisciplinary perspectives on central issues of early modern English history.