Early Modern Catholics, Royalists, and Cosmopolitans: English Transnationalism and the Christian Commonwealth by Brian C. Lockey
Attempts to define an 'English national identity' have occurred since the Reformation, with modern scholars citing early modern English writers—including Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Camden, and Hakluyt—whose works (seemingly) aim to create and define such an identity. Indeed, such a view has reached the status of orthodoxy in some quarters. This view, however, must seriously be called into question by the expert and lucid argument of Brian Lockey's Early Modern Catholics, Royalists, and Cosmopolitans.
Lockey re-evaluates these same authors—and a plethora of others—to argue that people in post-Reformation England were far more 'cosmopolitan' than previously noted. That is, while people may have had a national identity that was informed by contemporary religious issues, they also implicitly adhered to [End Page 259] transnational identities that went beyond temporal boundaries, and harked back to the 'true' Respublica Christiana.
Lockey states that the book is 'about those English authors that helped to secularize the religious cosmopolitanism that was implicit in the Catholic notion of the transnational Christian commonwealth' (p. 29). The book is thus focused on how religious conceptions were secularized over a century. In doing so, authors analogized and examined secular equivalents of deposition—a concept that could not be ignored after the papal deposition of Elizabeth I of England contained in Regnans in Excelsis (1570).
The book is refreshingly interdisciplinary, and Lockey does justice to both the religiopolitical (or polemic) texts—such as writings by Cardinal Allen and Edmund Campion—and the dramatic texts—such as works by Aphra Behn, Anthony Munday, and Thomas Killigrew—he marshals. His book, in showing the move from 'the papal-centered Roman Catholic cosmopolitanism of Campion, [Nicholas] Sander, and [Robert] Persons', to 'the secularized imitations of this model found in fictional works by Munday, [John] Harrington, Sidney, and Spenser' (p. 313), offers new and exciting perspectives on the texts that he has so closely analysed.
There are a few minor textual infelicities—such as the reference to James VI & I as 'James Stuart', and his cousin Arbella as 'Arabella' (p. 177)—but one cannot avoid being struck by the outstanding thoroughness of the book's copy-editing and typesetting, which makes the demise of Ashgate all the more acute. Of course, a review of this length cannot do justice to the rich array of sources Lockey has assembled, and the thoughtful analysis he has provided. Suffice to say, this book will be of great interest to scholars interested in the intersection of religion, nation, and politics in the early modern period.