Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England: Literature, History, Sovereignty

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This is the first book to examine Elizabeth I's lasting impact on the Anglo-American historical imagination. John Watkins attributes her abiding popularity to her iconic role in seventeenth-century debates over the nature of sovereignty. Watkins focuses on England's most turbulent century because it witnessed the consolidation of enduring attitudes toward both the Tudor past and the English monarchy. He explains that seventeenth-century representations of Elizabeth intersected with the period's wider debate over the sovereign's relationship to the people. He then traces the development of Elizabeth's iconic significance as the century moves on; the stories of Princess Elizabeth's sufferings under Mary Tudor or of her secret longings for Essex eventually figured more prominently in the popular imagination than records of her relationship with Parliament. By the early eighteenth century Elizabeth had acquired a new value as a model of the tragic individual pitted against a hostile social order.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Professor Watkins has produced a study that hopefully will inspire other scholars to explore the seemingly unending impact of Elizabeth I upon the generations born after 1603." Sixteenth Century Journal

"Watkins is a sensitive reader and interpreter of images..." The International Review of History

"...well-researched and interesting...The skillful use of a variety of sources makes this work useful and apppropriate for specialists in Tudor/Stuart England, as well as those just beginning to study Elizabeth I and her legacy. Watkins' interdisciplinary approach to his study will make this work attractive to early modern scholars across the curriculum." Albion

"Reading this book, one is immediately aware of being in the capable hands not only of an excellent scholar, but also of a stellar lecturer. The argument is consistently lucid, rendering this work valuable for not only the scholarly library, but equally for the classroom, a rare and commendable accomplishment." H-Albion

"This is a careful, provocative, and intelligent book." Renaissance Quarterly

"...this is a book that will have a wide impact in literary studies, but it wil also have to be read by historians of the period." Studies in English Literature

"Blending literary analysis with historiography, John Watkins analyzes the changing judgments of Elizabeth I during the century after her death in 1603...A readable, cogent study." History: Review of New Books

"The book smoothly addresses the interesting question of the appropriation of a queen's image...." Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521118965
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/3/2009
  • Pages: 282
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Watkins is Associate Professor of English at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. He is the author of The Specter of Dido: Spenser and Virgilian Epic (1995).

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Introduction 1
1 James I and the fictions of Elizabeth's motherhood 14
2 The queen of royal citizens: Elizabeth in Thomas Heywood's historical imagination 36
3 Arcana reginae: Tacitean narrations of the Elizabethan past 56
4 Recollections of Elizabeth during the civil wars and Interregnum 87
5 Restoration Elizabeth 108
6 "Under the name of a virgin or maiden queen" 136
7 Gloriana's secrets: the Restoration invention of Elizabeth's private life 150
8 After the revolution: Gloriana in late Stuart England 188
Conclusion 220
Notes 230
Index 259
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