The Earl of Essex and ‘politic history’
in Essex
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This chapter considers the broader construction of competing narratives of Essex's behaviour that defined the earl as a hero or a traitor, according to particular historical typologies. It argues that the political divisions of late Elizabethan England were intensely sharpened by the historical frameworks used by contemporaries to describe and understand the world around them. A string of texts associated with Essex emphasised the didactic utility of history. The deep impact of Jesuit Robert Parsons' devilish dedication, was to sensitise Essex's tender antennae to the synchronisation of the deceitful strategies. The synchronization of his political enemies would be to undermine him with conspiracies focused on Spain and the Infanta. Essex's circle has been strongly associated with the English manifestation of broader intellectual trends. The broader trends include the political thought associated with Roman history, especially Tacitus, which electrified European literati in the later sixteenth century.

Essex

The cultural impact of an Elizabethan courtier

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