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Oxford University Press, USA
Elizabeth I: The Competition for Representation / Edition 1

Elizabeth I: The Competition for Representation / Edition 1

by Susan Frye


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Elizabeth I: The Competition for Representation / Edition 1

Elizabeth I is perhaps the most visible woman in early modern Europe, yet little attention has been paid to what she said about the difficulties of constructing her power in a patriarchal society. This revisionist study examines her struggle for authority through the representation of her female body. Based on a variety of extant historical and literary materials, Frye's interpretation focuses on three representational crises spaced fifteen years apart: the London coronation of 1559, the Kenilworth entertainments of 1575, and the publication of The Faerie Queene in 1590. In ways which varied with social class and historical circumstance, the London merchants, the members of the Protestant faction, courtly artists, and artful courtiers all sought to stabilize their own gendered identities by constructing the queen within the "natural" definitions of the feminine as passive and weak. Elizabeth fought back, acting as a discursive agent by crossing, and thus disrupting, these definitions. She and those closely identified with her interests evolved a number of strategies through which to express her political control in terms of the ownership of her body, including her elaborate iconography and a mythic biography upon which most accounts of Elizabeth's life have been based. The more authoritative her image became, the more vigorously it was contested in a process which this study examines and consciously perpetuates.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195113839
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 12/28/1996
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.06(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.63(d)
Lexile: 1640L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Who Represents Elizabeth?3
1.Engendered Economics: Elizabeth I's Coronation Entry (1559)22
Queen Mary as Pre-text26
Sponsors, Authors, and Meaning in the Entries of Elizabeth and James30
Allegory, Instability, and Material Practice33
Elizabeth's Early Self-representation36
The Sexual Economy of the Passage40
Truth, the Daughter of the Signifier43
Profits and Representations48
2.Engendering Policy at Kenilworth (1575)56
Ambition and Policy57
Kenilworth's Two Texts61
The Terms of the Visit65
A Proposal of Marriage70
Elizabeth's Imprisonment72
A "Military Skirmish" and Questions of Policy in the Netherlands78
"By soveraigne maidens might"86
Elizabeth, Dudley, and the Competition for Representation92
3.Engendered Violence: Elizabeth, Spenser, and the Definitions of Chastity (1590)97
Turning Sixty in the 1590s98
The Queen's Presence104
Elizabeth's Later Strategies of Self-representation107
Spenser and the Definitions of Chastity114
Love, Magic, and the Female Audience120
The Topography of Threat and Rape124
"So cruelly to pen": Denying Rape and Having It, Too128
Spenser and Busirane132
Captivity: Essex and the Queen135
Captivity: Sidney, Spenser, and the Queen139
Epilogue: Reading Elizabeth Reading144
Selected Bibliography195

What People are Saying About This

Stephen Orgel

An exciting and original book, a richly detailed discussion of the way the queen constructed her image and deployed her authority.... It is primarily informed by a concern with biography and the intricacies of history. It offers the reader a continual sense of discovery.
— Steven Orgel, Stanford University

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