Cen Li (KCL) - 2022-23 Students

Imagining Empire: Negotiating English Identity in the Early Modern English Pre-Conquest History Play

When England embarked on its overseas enterprise in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, it turned to its colonial past to imagine what its own empire might look like. My research analyses history plays depicting pre-Conquest British history, in which three invasions of the British Isles—by the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons and the Danes respectively—are dramatised. Through their ambivalent presentation of invaders who are also ancestors, these history plays demonstrate early modern England’s endeavour to shake off the anxieties of the powerful influence of Roman civilisation and to explore its own path for an empire through the appropriation of history.

Primary supervisor: Prof. Lucy Munro, KCL
Secondary supervisor: Prof. Gordon McMullan, KCL

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