Andrew Gordon
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Essex’s last campaign
The fall of the Earl of Essex and manuscript circulation
in Essex
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The Earl of Essex was one of the most prominent courtiers of Elizabeth's reign but in the later 1590s he was increasingly absent from the court itself, the central venue of power politics. Absence from court increasingly shaped the textual output of Essex and his followers. It also informed the use of manuscript circulation in cultivating a textual following for the earl that continued to flourish throughout the seventeenth century. A decisive moment in Essex's courtly career came at the end of June 1598 when disagreements over strategy in Ireland erupted into a major incident between the earl and the queen. These disagreements resulted in Essex's self-imposed exile from the court. One of the challenges in tracing the circulation of Essex-related material is the very success of its dissemination in manuscript form. The connections between the earl's letter and Richard Mynshall's poem illustrate the impact of Essex texts in circulation.

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The cultural impact of an Elizabethan courtier


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