Introduction
in Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book addresses the lacunae by analysing Giles Fletcher's voyage, experience and works on Russia within the context of late Elizabethan humanist discourse and the domestic and foreign politics of the 1580s and the 1590s. It examines the records of the Muscovy Company, comprising instructions to the company servants, correspondence between governors, company agents and ambassadors and the day-today aspects of mercantile affairs in Russia and at home. The book discusses the 'commonwealth' culture cultivated within the Muscovy Company to cope with the challenges presented by travel, exploration and trade in a foreign and far-off land. It then examines briefly the relationship between Fletcher's early manuscript treatise and Richard Hakluyt's first edition of The Principall navigations, the most extensive compilation of English exploration, travel and trade documents of the early modern period.

Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth

The Muscovy Company and Giles Fletcher, the elder (1546–1611)

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