Introduction
in Essex
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book describes the rich and diverse figure of the earl by looking at a wealth of diverse visual and textual manifestations of Essex produced during the sixteenth century and up to the present day. It traces the critical assessment of the earl's decision to undertake a campaign in Ireland and considers the suggestion that his political enemies considered it politically expedient to have the earl personally embroiled in a foreign war. The book also describes the biographical commonplace that Essex identified himself with the chivalric code valued by Sir Philip Sidney and actively fashioned an identity for himself as Sidney's heir. It presents Essex's use of non-professional theatrical entertainments at court to promote an agenda he had shared with Sidney by campaigning for an increased level of English involvement in international affairs.

Essex

The cultural impact of an Elizabethan courtier

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