Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Spanish Characters and English Nationalism in English Drama of the Early Seventeenth Century

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2007), 84, (2), 131–144.

Abstract

This paper explores the representation of England's relations with Spain in a group of early seventeenth-century English plays dealing with Tudor history. It argues that images of Spain and Spanishness played a vital role in the articulation of English nationalism in the period around Elizabeth's death and James's accession. The influence of the Somerset House Peace of 1604 may be briefly seen in Heywood's play If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody, part 1 (1605) and part 2 (1606), but in the revised version of part 2, printed in 1633, the familiar hatred of Spain that characterised English literature of the 1590s reappears. Although the English were fascinated by things Spanish at this time, and admired many aspects of Spanish culture, in order to promote a Protestant destiny for England, they needed to retain the notion of the Spanish as dangerous 'others', against which the English could define themselves.

El presente artículo investiga la representación de las relaciones entre Inglaterra y España en varias obras de teatro ingleses de principios del siglo XVII que tratan de la historia de los Tudores. Propone que las imágenes de España y de la Hispanidad jugaron un papel fundamental en la articulación del nacionalismo inglés en el período de la muerte de Isabel I y la ascensión de James. La influencia de la Paz de Somerset House de 1604 se podrá ver brevemente en la obra de Heywood, If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody, parte 1 (1605) y parte 2 (1606), pero en la versión revisada, impresa en 1633, vuelve a aparecer el odio acostumbrado hacia España que había caracterizado la literatura inglesa de los 1590. Aunque a los ingleses les encantaban las cosas españolas de la época, para promover un destino protestante para Inglaterra, se mantuvo la noción del español como 'el otro' peligroso, contra el que los ingleses se definieron.

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Author details

Clark, Sandra