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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

English

First Advisor

Jaime Goodrich

Abstract

ABSTRACT

‘STRANGE’ LANDS OF OPPORTUNITY – REPRESENTATIONS OF MORAL, SOCIAL, AND ECONOMIC PROFIT IN LATE MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN LITERATURE

By

LISA KANNIAINEN

MARCH 2017

Advisor: Dr. Jaime Goodrich

Major: English (British Literature)

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

This dissertation pursues the link between late medieval and early modern texts and the thoughts of the developing middling class and the New Men. Adding to scholarship regarding travel literature, colonization, and propaganda, I claim that the selected texts offer insight into medieval and early modern concerns regarding moral, social, and economic profit. Employing contemporary economic constructs as a base, this enterprise investigates the genre of travel literature, fictional and nonfictional, as an agent to convey middling and New Man preoccupations with spirituality and good works, social and political influence, and financial gain. Through my research, I have uncovered the means by which travel literature and the New World promoted profit and a fledgling sense of nationhood. This dissertation examines the nature of travel literature as a convenient and popular medium to express growing interest in exploration, colonization, and England's opportunity for growth. Further, this project demonstrates the role that New Men envisioned for themselves in New World ventures, imagining the potential for spiritual, societal, and financial gain both as individuals and members of the English nation. Therefore, the works analyzed in this dissertation evidence travel literature as an agent to promote the ideas of the middling sort and New Men, offering a new perspective on late medieval and early modern studies.

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