Abstract and Keywords
Thomas Hoby and William Thomas are unique among previous generations of British travellers to Italy. They surprise us in two broad and related areas. First, their understanding of the relationship between Italy's past and present, and of the consequences of that relationship for English language and culture, is unprecedented. It anticipates uncannily some major themes of the literary culture of the age of Elizabeth I, such as its concern with the interaction between language on the one hand, and religion, national identity, civility, and courtliness on the other. Secondly, thanks to extant evidence about their journeys, Thomas and especially Hoby serve to illustrate a kind of intersection between reading, travel, and literary production which seems new for British travellers in the sixteenth century.
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