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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Bede described Britain as a bountiful and beautiful island characterized by ethnic diversity, whereas Gildas viewed it as a fallen garden or bride. Bede and Gildas established the foundations of a nation whose boundaries enclosed people or peoples, a site of the struggles between individuals and of individuals. English historians from Gervase of Canterbury to Ralph of Diceto, William of Malmesbury, and William of Newburgh look at the history of Britain as a history instituted by Bede and Gildas, whose impulses to write geography as narrative are evident in the two most important histories of the later Middle Ages: Brut and Ranulf Higden’s Polychronicon. This article examines Britain as an enclosed space protected by the sea. It begins with an analysis of Andrew Marvell’s poem “Upon Appleton House” and locates Marvell within the company of those who wrote Britain’s history through its geography, particularly William Langland and Geoffrey Chaucer. It then describes the Wilton Diptych as an icon of sacred kingship and sacred geography.

Keywords: Bede, Britain, Gildas, history, geography, narrative, enclosed space, William Langland, Wilton Diptych, kingship

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