Conley, Kassandra Leighann, “Looking towards India: nativism and orientalism in the literature of Wales, 1300-1600”, PhD thesis, Harvard University, 2014.

  • PhD thesis
Citation details
Looking towards India: nativism and orientalism in the literature of Wales, 1300-1600
Harvard University
Online resources
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Chapters: I. Building a Welsh vocabulary of wonder: the role of mirabilia in medieval Welsh prose -- II. Olion Cewri: Galfridian history and early modern Welsh identity -- III. The relics of British wonder in the Tudor landscape -- IV. The relics of British wonder in the new world -- V. The anxiety of travel in sixteenth century Wales: the cases of John Mandeville and Alexander the Great -- Epilogue.
Abstract (cited)

After the conquest of 1282, Wales increasingly fell under the dominion of England and in 1535, the first Laws in Wales Act officially annexed the country. During this period of political and legal instability, Welsh men and women fought to regain independence, a struggle that led to the development of a nascent national identity. For many authors, this identity was fundamentally rooted in the topography of Wales and the mythical histories concerning the cultivation of its land. This interest in native mirabilia corresponded with a period of increased availability of English and continental geographical treatises and travelogues that provided Welsh authors with a new vocabulary for discussing wonder. Medieval and early modern Welsh authors incorporated these exotic geographies into their accounts of native landscapes in order to differentiate Wales from England and argue for a sense of Welsh cultural exceptionalism based in its alterity.

Subjects and topics
Dennis Groenewegen
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December 2017, last updated: April 2022