Protestantism and National Identity
Britain and Ireland, c.1650–c.1850
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of Pages: 330
Width: 15.2 cm
Height: 22.9 cm
This volume traces the complex contribution which Protestantism made to national identity in the British Isles between the Stuart and the Victorian ages. Often challenging existing work, the essays both question whether nationalism was a secular and 'modern' phenomenon, and ask whether Protestantism could support any simple vision of a united, imperial and 'elect' Britain. Covering a wide variety of subjects, the authors show that whilst the reformed faith was always central to 'British' self-awareness, it could also divide the peoples of Britain and Ireland, could cast doubt on their greatness, and could dissolve any insistence on the uniqueness of these nations. The collection thus takes the study of religion's contribution to nationality beyond simple acknowledgement of its importance, and suggests ways to understand British and Irish development during the 'long eighteenth century'.
'The book ... is both wide-ranging and thematically consistent: its analyses of the ambiguities which attend religious as well as national identities, and of the subtle and highly flexible definitions to which those identities are susceptable, make it essential reading for students of the period.' British Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies 'This is an indispensable collection, learned and sharply focused.' History of Political Thought