Elizabeth I: Collected Works / Edition 2

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Elizabeth Tudor (1533-1603) ruled for forty-five years over one of the most remarkable periods in British history. The pious yet ruthless Virgin Queen was also an immensely productive and gifted writer who received one of the finest humanist educations of her day, and, from the age of eleven, produced a steady flow of letters, speeches, prayers, and poems in various languages. Elizabeth I: The Collected Works is the first volume to bring together her extraordinary literary production.

This long-awaited, superbly prepared edition includes Elizabeth's clumsy childhood letters to her forbidding father, Henry VIII; her fledgling speeches as monarch in which she struggled with Parliament over her right to remain a virgin and refuse to name a successor; and her earnest prayers. Within this volume the reader can find heartfelt entreaties to God ("Preserve me also from all defilement of body and spirit, and keep me from the temptations of the enemy and from all dangers that could befall me") as well as orders to torture suspected traitors ("And if that shall not move them, then you shall cause them to be put to the rack, and to feel the taste thereof until they shall deal more plainly"). The most important of Queen Elizabeth's extant writings in other languages-French, Latin, Italian, Spanish, ancient Greek-are here offered in new and meticulous translations, enabling readers to gain an unprecedentedly deep and intimate picture of the doubts and conflicts behind her public presentations.

Elizabeth I: The Collected Works, the first volume of its kind, reveals Elizabeth's brilliance as both a monarch and a dazzling writer of the English Renaissance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection shines a light onto the character and experience of one of the most interesting of monarchs. English professors Marcus (Vanderbilt), Mueller (University of Chicago), and Rose (University of Illinois-Chicago) have collected the speeches, letters, poems and prayers written by Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603), arranged into four chronological groupings. The writings of the first period, from 1533 to 1558, contain no speeches because Elizabeth was then only a princess, daughter of the executed Anne Boleyn, and her principal job was, literally, to keep her head on her shoulders; the less she said, the safer she was. But even after she assumed the crown, she was still faced with the formidable task of staying alive as she forced her advisers to accept a woman as a sovereign and to obey her wishes. Her writings provide an excellent record of how well she was able to accomplish these goals. The speeches of this archetypal Renaissance figure (she wrote in several languages, including ancient Greek) sometimes read more like memos and her prayers occasionally seem like propaganda--but overall she was proficient enough to write in an elegant, clear voice. Because of the volume of writings contained herein and the extensive, helpful annotations the editors have added, we are likely never to get a closer or clearer look at her. An intriguing and intense portrait of a woman who figures so importantly in the birth of our modern world, this book, though aimed primarily at scholars, could be profitably read and enjoyed by any interested reader. Illus. not seen by PW. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
In a single extraordinary volume, Elizabeth I: Collected Works, Marcus (English, Vanderbilt) and her coeditors have collected the Virgin Queen's letters, speeches, poems, and prayers--translated from French, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and ancient Greek, when necessary. From an early (1544) letter of the Princess Elizabeth to Queen Katherine to a long letter about Ireland addressed to Lord Mountjoy (February 1603) shortly before the queen's death, the editors have put together an impressive, heavily footnoted volume. While browsers will certainly find items of interest (e.g., a touching condolence letter from the queen to her ambassador to France upon the death of his son), this scholarly work will be of interest primarily to scholars. Highly recommended for academic libraries and for public libraries with strong collections of Elizabethan history. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Jonathan Bate
A remarkable body of letters, speeches, poems and prayers, revealing the Virgin Queen in all her eloquence and intelligence.
Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226504643
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 472
  • Sales rank: 583,887
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Janel Mueller is a professor of English, the William Rainey Harper Professor in the College, and dean of the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. She is the author of The Native Tongue and the Word: Developments in English Prose Style, 1380-1580.

Leah S. Marcus is the Edwin Mims Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Her books include Puzzling Shakespeare: Local Reading and Its Discontents and Unediting the Renaissance: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Milton. With Mary Beth Rose, Mueller and Marcus edited Elizabeth I: Collected Works.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations and Frequently Cited Works
I. 1533-1558
Letters 1-23
Poems 1-3
Prayers 1-2
II. 1558-1572
Speeches 1-12
Letters 24-33
Poems 4-5
Prayers 3-28
Poem 6
III. 1572-1587
Speeches 13-18
Letters 34-77
Poems 7-12
Prayers 29-35
IV. 1588-1603
Speeches 19-24
Letters 78-103
Poems 13-15
Prayers 36-39
Lists of Speeches, Letters, Poems, Prayers
Index of Names

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Accessible and Essential

    The Collected Works is an accessible (and affordable) collection of Elizabeth's I writings. It includes letters, speeches, prayers, and poems. The book is organized chronologically into chunks and then organized by type of materials. Thus, all of the letters from a certain period are included before the poems of a certain period. This puts a bit more work onto the reader, who must be aware of listed dates. The dates are given when known and approximated when unknown. When this happens the authors include notes explaining their reasoning or the lack knowledge about a date or origin. There is a preface (introduction), list of letters, and an index. This makes searching much easier.
    The editors of this work are highly-regarded scholars working in early modern English literature and history. This volume is essential for anyone working on Elizabeth and Elizabethan topics. It is not exhaustive, but is the more exhaustive work to date. There are some other volumes of letters (Elizabeth I: Her Life in Letters by Felix Pryor) and writings (Queen Elizabeth I: selected works by Steven W. May, Elizabeth I: the word of a prince; a life from contemporary documents by Maria Perry, and Elizabeth's Glass by Shell), but these are less comprehensive than this volume.
    There are very few images; they are all black and white reproductions of originals.
    The authors also worked on other volumes, including two on Elizabeth's translations and one of originals (this one with many more images). All are published by University of Chicago Press.
    My area of research is Elizabethan England and Elizabeth specifically. This work is absolutely essential for anyone doing research in this area. It is also accessible for other readers who are interested in how Elizabeth wrote. Spelling and punctuation are modernized, making reading easier for general audiences. The notes alone are worth the price of the book in either hardcover or softcover.
    I highly recommend this book for those readers doing research at any level and for any reason. It is an interesting (and refreshing) antidote to the heavy-handed fictional and filmic ideas of Elizabethan writing.

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