“Visualizations of Queen Elizabeth I in Literature” by Alice Bradford

"The Darnley Portrait" (c. 1575) attributed to Federico Zuccaro

“The Darnley Portrait” (c. 1575) attributed to Federico Zuccaro

Ruler of England during its Golden Age and iconic female head of state, Elizabeth I of the Tudor lineage has become a figure whose image—perceived, imagined, or self-selected—has appeared in numerous literary works throughout history, during her reign, after her death, and into more modern times.  Authors, poets, thinkers, and people who had the honor of having an audience with the Queen visualized her—her appearance, fashion choices, adornment, and overall demeanor—in various ways and to different ends, which may have differed from the image that Elizabeth created for herself.  Through the explication and analysis of eye-witness testimony, individual perception, the elegiac poem, and the epic, Elizabeth’s significance as England’s supreme monarch, her people’s Virgin Mother, and the ultimate fashion icon of her realm will be discussed, taking into account the differences in her visualization and finally piecing together a comprehensive interpretation of the Queen.

Bibliography:

  • Bradstreet, Anne. “In Honour of that High and Mighty Princess, Queen Elizabeth.” (1643, 1650). In The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 7th ed. Ed. Nina Baym. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2007.

  • Diary of Simon Forman (dated 23 Jan. 1597) Quoted in Louis Adrian Montrose’s “’Shaping Fantasies’: Figurations of Gender and Power in Elizabethan Culture.” In Representing the English Renaissance. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988: 32-33.

  • Howard, Maurice. “Elizabeth I: A Sense of Place in Stone, Print and Paint.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Sixth Series, Vol. 14 (2004): 261-268.

  • Introduction to The Faerie Queene.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006.

  • Leed, Drea. “Queen Elizabeth’s Influence on Elizabethan Fashion.” Elizabethan Costume Page. 2010. Accessed November 13, 2014. http://www.elizabethancostume.net/influence.html.

  • Montrose, Louis Adrian. “’Shaping Fantasies’: Figurations of Gender and Power in Elizabethan Culture.” In Representing the English Renaissance. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

  • Moss, David Grant. “Mutually Exclusive Goddesses: Ambivalence in the Iconography of Elizabeth I.” Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Fall 1999): 23-36.

  • Notes of the ambassador Andre Hurault-Sieur de Maisse to French King Henri IV (dated 1597) Quoted in Louis Adrian Montrose’s “’Shaping Fantasies’: Figurations of Gender and Power in Elizabethan Culture.” In Representing the English Renaissance. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988: 33-34.

  • Oram, Yvonne. “Representations of Ageing Female Rulers on the Early Modern Stage. Representations of Elizabeth I in Early Modern Culture. Ed. Alessandra Petrina and Laura Tosi. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 22-241.

  • Palmer, Jennifer. “The Errour of Rome: Spenser’s Defence of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I, and the Church of England in The Faerie Queene.” Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature. 20 Oct. 1999. Accessed 7 Dec. 2014. http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/sinclair.htm.

  • Petrina, Alessandra. “Introduction: a Monarch in Writing.” Representations of Elizabeth I in Early Modern Culture. Ed. Alessandra Petrina and Laura Tosi. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 1-9.

  • Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queene. (1596). In The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006.

  • Tosi, Laura. “Mirrors for Female Rulers: Elizabeth I and the Duchess of Malfi.” Representations of Elizabeth I in Early Modern Culture. Ed. Alessandra Petrina and Laura Tosi. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 257-273.