Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? How was Great Britain made? And what does it mean to be British? This brilliant and seminal book examines how a more cohesive British nation was invented after and how this new national identity was nurtured through war, religion, trade, and empire.

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Although the Bible had told everybody for a hundred years that James was King of Great Britain, the English and the Scots felt very little common nationality at the time of the Act of Union in Over the next hundred years they developed a British nationality that enabled them to work together and carried them through the wars against France. By the last quarter of the eighteenth century the British were able to survive a difficult war against America, France, and Spain, and then a much longer war against revolutionary France.

The larger part of the book is devoted to these decades of united struggle, showing how men and women became members of an active and self-conscious community. Perhaps Colley overestimates the extent to which the change was caused by war; if people had not become very satisfied with their way of life during the thirty years of peace after Utrecht, they would probably not have produced the explosion of bellicose feeling and patriotic songs in the s.

It was in this period between the two Jacobite rebellions that the Act of Union became accepted as the natural way to do things, and it was in this period that the Lowland Scots became more anglicized and more determined to make themselves into citizens of the new state.

The Lowland Scots after the Act of Union were one of the first groups in this position, and those who wanted to do well out of the Union responded by devoting themselves to learning, for public use, the English version of English with a professionalism the English had never needed. Scots universities taught people to write English by studying rhetoric and belles lettres; English universities assumed that anyone who had studied Latin and Greek would have learnt to write English along the way.

While this account of part of the process of creating Britons is interesting, it is written from so determinedly Scottish nationalist a [End Page ] point of view that parts of the story become distorted. It may be understandable for a nationalist to want to play down the deep division between Highlands and Lowlands in eighteenth-century Scotland, but it does lead Crawford to ignore the extent to which Scott as poet and novelist was devoted to knitting Scotland together again.

While Colley is full of apt quotations, the illustrations are yet more apt. There are over eighty of them, all discussed or at least mentioned in the text, and all serving to help the argument forward. In an age of limited literacy, cartoons and engravings were the nearest to a mass medium that anyone could hope for, and it would be hard to assess what people believed without seeing what they saw. The first two Georges may not have done much for national unity in this way, but George III does seem to have achieved in the later stages of his reign something like the position later held by Queen Victoria.

But Colley may manage to get the word accepted, and in any case the eighteenth century is going to seem more comprehensible, and more entertaining, to readers of her book. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. Institutional Login. LOG IN. Eighteenth-Century Studies. Reviewed by:. Trevor Lloyd. Linda Colley. Britons: Forging the Nation — Robert Crawford. Devolving English Literature.

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Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837

Learn more about the actions Yale University Press is taking. Impressive prose, and sharp interpretation of visual material, compelled assent. Intelligent, lively, well written, bursting with ideas, and splendidly illustrated with 70 prints and cartoons from the period. She also show that some changes which seem to have been sudden actually were part of the logical progression of these early movements.


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Britons: Forging the Nation — is a history written in by Linda Colley. Britons charts the emergence of British identity from the Act of Union in with Scotland and England to the beginning of the Victorian era in British identity , she argues, was created from four features that both united the Britons and set the nation apart from others:. Colley's analysis of the source of British identity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries led her to wonder whether British identity will survive in the future, now that so much of what made the Britons British — religion, Empire, disaffiliation from the Continent — has been lost. Britons won the Wolfson History Prize in Colley's methodology focuses more on the cultural and social history of Britain than on political history in order to explain what being British meant to the Britons themselves.



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