Nation and Nurture in Seventeenth-Century English Literature connects changing seventeenth-century English views of maternal nurture to the rise of the modern nation, especially between 1603 and 1675. Maternal nurture gains new prominence in the early modern cultural imagination at the precise moment when England undergoes a major paradigm shift - from the traditional, dynastic body politic, organized by organic bonds, to the post-dynastic, modern nation, comprised of symbolic and affective relations. The book also demonstrates that shifting early modern perspectives on Judeo-Christian relations deeply inform the period's interlocking reassessments of maternal nurture and the nation, especially in the case of Milton. The book's five chapters analyze a wide range of reformed and traditional texts, including A pitiless Mother, William Gouge's Of Domesticall Duties, Shakespeare's Macbeth, Charles I's Eikon Basilike, and Milton's Paradise Lost, and Samson Agonistes.
Equal attention is paid to such early modern visual images as The power of women (a late sixteenth-century Dutch engraving), William Marshall's engraved frontispiece to Richard Braithwaite's The English Gentleman and Gentlewoman (1641), and Peter Paul Rubens's painting of Pero and Cimon or Roman Charity (1630). The book argues that competing early modern figurations of the nurturing mother mediate in politically implicated ways between customary biblical models of English kingship and innovative Hebraic/Puritan paradigms of Englishness.
Rachel Trubowitz is Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire-Durham. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on Milton, Margaret Cavendish, and seventeenth-century English literature and culture. Her chapter, 'The People of Asia and with them the Jews: Asia, Israel, and England in Milton's Writings,' in Milton and the Jews, ed. Douglas Brooks (Cambridge, 2008), won the James Holly Hanford Award for Best Essay from the Milton Society of America.
Acknowledgments ; Abbreviations ; List of Illustrations ; Introduction ; 1. Nursing Mothers and National Identity ; 2. Nature, Nurture and the Changing <"Character> " of Englishness: A Pitiless Mother, Hic Mulier, and Macbeth ; 3. Nursing Fathers and National Identity: James I, Charles I, Cromwell and Milton ; 4. Old Fathers and New Mothers: Supersession and the <"unity of spirit> " in Paradise Lost ; 5. <"I was his nursling once> ": Internationalism and <"nurture holy> " in Samson Agonistes ; Bibliography