My dissertation applies Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities in order to analyze how William of Malmesbury’s Gesta regum Anglorum, A Song Called Þe Deulis Perlament, OR Parlamentum of Feendis, 1 Henry IV, Macbeth, and Paradise Lost imagine England, then Britain, as a community, and how they use the devil to do it. From featuring devilish leaders as the true threat to the English nation-state and describing the role models necessary to oppose them and ensure England's greatness to characterizing parliament as a demonic structure to emphasizing the internal rebel as the true threat to British nationalism in the early modern period to the culmination of all of these in the figure of Satan in Paradise Lost. Satan is a devilish leader who leads a demonic parliament, and is a threat because he is a diabolical rebel. The fact that Satan in Paradise Lost focuses on these elements that tie the devil to English nationalism illustrates that after the Restoration England still struggles with what defines English national identity.
Director: Dr. Anita Obermeier