Elizabeth I

Sarah Covington

in Renaissance and Reformation

ISBN: 9780195399301
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:
Elizabeth I

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy



The historiographic house of Gloriana is an enormous edifice of many rooms and wings—even if its foundations have been relaid, and more “rooms” have been added on through the years. At the center, of course, stands the biography itself, of a continually fascinating and debated woman and queen; but extending outward, Elizabeth cannot be closed off from her policies, her gender, her religion and religious policies, or the significant institutions, councilors, and courtiers who surrounded her. Any bibliography must therefore take these ancillary aspects into account, in order to capture the many dimensions of a figure who defined her times and continues to provoke intense debate. The study of Elizabeth has also constituted one of the most interdisciplinary fields in recent years, with literary scholars, historians, and art historians adding their own perspectives in the exploration of texts, icons, and portraiture relating to her. In addition, religion during Elizabeth’s reign has been approached by different disciplines, most notably through the resurgence of interest in Catholicism and Catholic culture. Political culture, including parliament, the privy council, and the court, have continually been given reassessments, while the role of gender, once thought so important to Elizabeth’s persona and maintenance of power, has been questioned recently. Meanwhile, in her long period of rule, not one but two reigns have been identified, with the latter occurring from the 1590s to her death in 1603. Favorable or adverse, the verdicts on her, and her queenship, therefore continue, as even contemporaries such as Cecil could foresee. “I fear,” he wrote toward the end of her reign, that “her Highness shall be strangely and very variously chronicled.”

Article.  19200 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

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