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The iconography of Elizabeth I

The visual images of Queen Elizabeth I displayed in contemporary portraits and perpetuated and developed in more recent media, such as film and television, make her one of the most familiar and popular of all British monarchs. This book is a collection of essays that examine the diversity of the queen's extensive iconographical repertoire, focusing on both visual and textual representations of Elizabeth, in portraiture, literature, contemporary sermons, speeches and alchemical treatises. It falls into three sections. The first part looks at the diverse range of religious and quasi-religious images that were employed by and about Elizabeth, such as the Prophetesse Deborah, the suggestive parallel with Joan of Arc, and finally Lady Alchymia, the female deity in alchemical treatises. When Queen Elizabeth I, the first female Protestant monarch, was enthroned in 1558, male poets, artists, theologians, and statesmen struggled to represent this new phenomenon. The second part turns to one of the major enterprises of the Elizabethan era, the attempt to colonise the New World, during which the eastern seaboard of America was renamed Virginia in celebration of the Virgin Queen. The last part focuses on the ways in which the classical world was plundered for modes of imaging and figuring the queen. Finally, the book summarises the enormously wide range of Elizabeth's iconographical repertoire of its appeal, and provides a fitting end to a book which ranges so widely across the allegorical personae of the queen.

Gary Waller

in the Tower. It is very explicitly a ‘Catholic text’ not merely a ‘religious one’, to use Alison Shell’s useful distinction.12 In one of Howard’s other poems, entitled a ‘Fourfold Meditation’, there are some stanzas on the Virgin Mary, omitted from the 1606 published edition, in which he ‘developed a telling contrast with that earthly virgin, Queen Elizabeth, whom he had formerly adored’ and the figure who was at the centre of Walsingham, sentiments which are exactly echoed in his Walsingham poem. For him, as for increasing numbers of Catholics, the usurping

in Literary and visual Ralegh
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Annaliese Connolly and Lisa Hopkins

and her reign with cinemagoers and includes a roll-call of some of the finest stage and screen actresses (and actors). Bette Davis starred as the queen twice in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) and The Virgin Queen (1955). Jean Simmons starred as the queen in Young Bess (1953), with Jenny Runacre taking the role as Elizabeth in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee in 1977, while

in Goddesses and Queens
Elizabeth I’s death rehearsal
Scott L. Newstok

At the burial of an epoch no psalm is heard at the tomb. 2 (Anna Akhmatova) Scholars have long debated just precisely when Elizabeth I commenced her iconographical self-presentation as a Virgin Queen; recent criticism has frequently

in Goddesses and Queens
Petrarch’s Triumphs and the Elizabethan icon
Heather Campbell

desire. Thus the popularity of the Triumphs in sixteenth-century England provided a crucial element in the creation of the Elizabethan icon. It offered a vocabulary and a cluster of associations through which Elizabeth could be presented to her own subjects and to other European political figures as the Virgin Queen, but in a context resonant of military victory and masculine

in Goddesses and Queens
Steve Sohmer

Olivia as an imaguncula of Queen Elizabeth, the most conspicuous being Feste’s nickname for his mistress, ‘Madonna’. The word is Italian, and means ‘lady’ or ‘my lady’. But to the ears of Elizabethans (and us) it recalls the Madonna, Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus and Virgin Queen of Heaven. As noted, Elizabeth was styled ‘the Virgin Queen’. Though Shakespeare could have

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
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‘reproofe to these degenerate effeminate dayes?
Carol Banks

cult for woman worship, namely that of the Virgin Queen. 5 Additionally, in the second half of the sixteenth century England had enjoyed relative peace at home. This meant that the opportunities to display military strength were fewer and social promotion had come to depend increasingly upon diplomacy, learning and trade, rather than bravery on the battlefield. 6 In 1595 John Smithe noted with regret the

in Shakespeare’s histories and counter-histories
Steve Sohmer

. Shakespeare’s play features a young woman nicknamed ‘Madonna’ – a name associated with the Virgin Queen of Heaven – who is courted by a duke named Orsino. And Elizabeth did style herself the ‘Virgin Queen’. But had Virginio Orsini really travelled to London with flirtation in mind? Virginio was married, and a play implying a liaison with Elizabeth would have given offence to both

in Reading Shakespeare’s mind
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Jean R. Brink

early example of the mythology that grew up around the Virgin Queen. Beginning with Frances A. Yates's influential analysis of Elizabethan iconography, we have recognized that there was a cult of Elizabeth and understood that poems, such as Spenser's Aprill eclogue, were related to that cult. 11 Early studies of the mythology surrounding Elizabeth, however, paid little attention to chronology and so used

in The early Spenser, 1554–80
Victoria Coldham-Fussell

-divine Virgin Queen. Likewise, we need not regard Lucifera as a reflection of ‘what Spenser really thought of Elizabeth’ or as evidence of his Republican sympathies in order to read the House of Pride episode as genuinely subversive. Beyond its primary function as a satire on the sin of pride, it presents a dystopic image of monarchy – a grotesque magnification of the human failings Elizabeth’s position made her uniquely susceptible to, and a vision of this susceptibility pushed to its logical conclusion without check, inhibition, or redemption. The episode is a parable and a

in Comic Spenser