A controversial commonwealth
Censorship, poetry and Fletcher’s later career
in Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth
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This chapter traces the controversial printing history of The Russe Common Wealth and the reaction of the Muscovy Company and the Elizabethan regime to Giles Fletcher's text. It also explores Fletcher's love poetry of the 1590s, detailing a capricious, cruel and tyrannical lover in the image of his beloved Licia and a chilling depiction of the historical tyranny presented through the medium of Richard III's ghost. The chapter considers whether Fletcher's depiction of Russia and his later love poetry had any effect on his career prospects and fortunes as an aspiring citizen-subject of the Elizabethan crown. It was Fletcher's contemporary circumstances and his critical view of the world in general and the English commonwealth in particular that provided the political edge to his poetry. As Fletcher's contemporaries disclosed, the threat of censorship was palpable and the position of the late Elizabethan poet was precarious.

Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth

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

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