These essays consider all facets of Elizabeth’s role in the culture of writing from the private to the political and bring to light many newly discovered documents.
Author: Elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1993 and Director and Manuscript Expert Peter Beal
Publisher: British Library Board
As Queen of England for nearly forty-five years, Elizabeth I left behind a formidable and fascinating paper trail. She wrote copiously, including works in verse and in prose, original works and translations, treatises, prayers, and speeches, but as the essays collected in Elizabeth I and the Culture of Writing demonstrate, Elizabeth did not simply participate in the cultural phenomenon of the growth of writing—as the most powerful person in Britain, her example played an instrumental part in its spread. These essays consider all facets of Elizabeth’s role in the culture of writing from the private to the political and bring to light many newly discovered documents. H. R. Woudhuysen scrutinizes the Queen’s handwriting, Jane Lawson looks at the books Elizabeth received as gifts, Peter Beal examines the execution warrants she was obliged to sign, and Steven May gives an account of the prayers and letters of condolence Elizabeth wrote. Ultimately this textual record of the Queen’s reign reveals a dauntingly complex identity—at once sovereign, spectator, friend, woman, creator, muse, and icon.