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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

The Myth of Elizabeth

ISBN 9780333930830
Publication Date September 2003
Formats Hardcover Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

Elizabeth I is one of England's most admired and celebrated rulers. She is also one of its most iconic: her image is familiar from paintings, film and television.
This wide-ranging interdisciplinary collection of essays examines the origins and development of the image and myths that came to surround the Virgin Queen. The essays question the prevailing assumptions about the mythic Elizabeth and challenge the view that she was unambiguously celebrated in the literature and portraiture of the early modern era. They explain how the most familiar myths surrounding the queen developed from the concerns of her contemporaries and yet continue to reverberate today.
Published to mark the 400th anniversary of the queen's death, this volume will appeal to all those with an interest in the historiography of Elizabeth's reign and Elizabethan, and Jacobean, poets, dramatists and artists.

SUSAN DORAN is a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University, UK.

THOMAS S. FREEMAN is the Research Officer for the British Academy John Foxe Project and is affiliated with the University of Sheffield.

List of Illustrations
Introduction; S.Doran and T.S.Freeman
Providence and Prescription: the Account of Elizabeth in Foxe's 'Book of Martyrs'; T.S.Freeman
Duessa's Trial and Elizabeth's Error: Judging Elizabeth in Spenser's Faerie Queen; A.Hadfield
William Camden and the Anti-Myth of Elizabeth: Setting the Mould?; P.Collinson
Elizabeth in Arcadia: Fulke Greville and John Hayward's Construction of Elizabeth, 1610-12; L.Richardson
Drama Queen: Staging Elizabeth in If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody; T.Grant
'A Very Deborah?' The Myth of Elizabeth I as a Providential Monarch; A.Walsham
Virginity, Divinity and Power: the Portraits of Elizabeth I; S.Doran
Queen Elizabeth and Mrs Bishop; B.Usher
Harington's Gossip; J.Scott-Warren
A Queen for All Seasons: Elizabeth I on Film; T.Betteridge
List of Abbreviations
Notes and References
Notes on Contributors


This is an excellent collection. All the essays are very strong and many are by noted scholars. This book will find a wide readership.' - Carole Levin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
'This attractive collection of essays takes in Elizabeth's myth as Protestant martyr and heart-of-a-king monarch for gentle questioning.' - Plays International
'Capably fills an important gap in the market.' - Dr Alec Ryrie, University of Birmingham'A splendid and useful collection.' - Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, Oxford University
'It is hard to imagine a more riveting or coherent group of essays than those in The Myth of Elizabeth.' - H.Albion
'These essays serve to reorient our vision, to see the sixteenth-century world as the men and women of that time saw it.' - Wallace MacCaffrey, Journal of Ecclesiastical History
'The thought-provoking essays in this collection are certain to pave the way for much new research in Elizabethan studies.' - Elizabeth Goldring, Renaissance Quarterly
'The Myth of Elizabeth provides a variety of fascinating insights into the formation and perpetuation of Elizabeth's mythic image.' - Ronald Fritze, The Sixteenth Century Journal
'Thomas S. Freeman and Susan Doran have produced a collection of essays of considerable elegance and consistency.' - Women: A Cultural Review
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