• Irish Mantles, English Nationalism: Apparel and National Identity in Early Modern England and Ireland

    Author(s):
    John Robert Ziegler (see profile)
    Date:
    2013
    Group(s):
    CLCS Renaissance and Early Modern
    Subject(s):
    British literature, Early modern studies, English literature, Irish literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    national identity, clothing, cloak, cultural history
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M60606
    Abstract:
    The Irish mantle - a type of long, heavy woolen cloak - came under regular attack by writers and lawmakers in Tudor and Stuart England. This article examines how a range of early modern English texts used the Irish mantle to establish and regulate the boundaries of national identity. The Irish were problematically similar to the English; most significantly, they lacked the clear physical differences that distinguished other colonial subjects. For writers such as Barnabe Rich, Edmund Spenser, John Davies, and Ben Jonson, the mantle takes on the function of signifying an essential 'Irishness' and differentiating it from 'Englishness.' Relying on an easily changed garment to signal natural difference, however, rendered less stable the very distinctions in national identity that English writers attempted to create and maintain. Irish texts from the same period, including several of the Annála [Annals] and poems by Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn and Dháibhidh Uí Bhruadair, offer competing images of Irish dress and often demonstrate a greater comfort with hybrid identities and less concern with the idea of an Irish nation. English discourse on the mantle could help to create and police an English identity only by simultaneously creating an Irish nation against which to define itself.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal Article
    Publisher:
    University of Pennsylvania Press
    Journal:
    The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
    Volume:
    13
    Issue:
    1
    Start Page:
    73
    End Page:
    95
    Status:
    Published
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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