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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.
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.