Schmidgen, Wolfram. Exquisite Mixture: The Virtues of Impurity in Early Modern England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012).

 

In  Exquisite Mixture: The Virtues of Impurity in Early Modern England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) Wolfram Schmidgen asks: when did the English, well-known for their pride in the deep Anglo-Saxon roots of their culture, begin to argue that English culture was great because it was mixed and impure? His answer begins with the realization that early-eighteenth-century Englishmen were becoming increasingly assertive about mixture as the cause of their nation’s virtues and perfections. They prized the mixture of different linguistic, literary, racial, and political kinds. The origins of this striking appreciation of mixture can be found in the political and scientific revolutions of the seventeenth century. By retrieving early modern arguments for the civilizing effects of mixture, I confront the political and ethical limits of our current fascination with the idea of hybridity.