Unbroken English: Adrian’s research connects language and English identity

UVa-Wise professors must balance teaching classes, serving the college community and contributing research to their fields. Professors can take a sabbatical, opening doors to research what interests them where it is needed.

Dr. John Mark Adrian, the department chair of Language and Literature at UVa-Wise, returned in October after spending two months in England conducting research. In his previous book “Local Negotiations of Nationhood 1570-1680”, Adrian looked at how local identity was created through literature in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Branching from that work, Adrian is now looking at civic pageantry, or how the different cities’ presented themselves towards Queen Elizabeth I. According to Adrian, Elizabeth would go on “progress,” or leave her palace to travel England and promote herself.

While on progress Elizabeth would stop at various cities in England, validating their importance. Adrian’s research while in England looked at how the cities used this opportunity to create an image for themselves and influence government policies affecting them. The speeches written for the Queen’s time in the city were used to achieve the image.

Adrian studied and lived in Worcester and Canterbury England, two of several cities being used in his research.

“I’m trying to get to know those cities really well,” Adrian said. “For what I’m doing I need to know exactly what was going on in those cities in the 1570s. What was their economic activity, what was troublesome and what anxieties they had?”

After learning about the cities, Adrian began to interpret what the cities did when Elizabeth arrived. While in Worcester and Canterbury, he had the opportunity to go through their archives and work with local experts.

“The archives have accounts of when the queen visited, they have copies of the speeches that were given, they have descriptions of where she went and what she did,” Adrian said.

Adrian is now consolidating and outlining his research for the publication of a future book. In order to promote and gain interest for the book, he has already published an article on Bristol, England and is working to have another published. Both will be included in the final product.

Mychaela Richardson

Mychaela Richardson served as a staff writer for the 2012-2013 academic year.

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