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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
Virgin Queen and virgin land in Sir Walter Ralegh’s The Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana
Helen J. Burgess

put up her money, and Ralegh’s mission to conquer and ‘protect’ Guiana from Spain was deferred until his second disastrous journey under the reign of James I. However, the Guiana narrative, as a historical document, also allows us insight into a peculiar relationship – between Elizabeth the ‘Virgin Queen’ of England, and her virtual counterpart, Guiana, the ‘virgin land’ Ralegh

in Goddesses and Queens
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The screen incarnations of Sir Walter Ralegh
Susan Campbell Anderson

should lend itself easily not just to the stage but to the screen. Indeed, the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) lists seventeen entries for ‘Sir Walter Ralegh’ as a film or television character.7 Yet stunningly, all of them, with the exception of the children’s television special My Friend Walter (1992) and the postwar Bette Davis vehicle The Virgin Queen (1955), which will emerge in later discussion as problematic with respect to its intended focus on Ralegh, feature Ralegh either as a peripheral or supporting character, not as the focal character of the film or

in Literary and visual Ralegh
A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the iconography of marriage
Annaliese Connolly

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a play which is heavily imbued with the iconography of virginity which had been developed by and for Elizabeth I in the final phase of her reign. The play includes a number of the personae used to celebrate her status as a Virgin Queen, and the play’s emphasis upon the influence of Diana and the figure of the

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
Open Access (free)
The cinematic afterlife of an early modern political diva
Elisabeth Bronfen and Barbara Straumann

moments, the body of Elizabeth I and the theatricalisation of her power intersect with the body of the modern film star. In order to do so, we focus on four actresses: Flora Robson in Fire Over England (William Howard, 1937) and The Sea Hawk (Michael Curtiz, 1940), Bette Davis in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Michael Curtiz, 1939) and The Virgin Queen (Henry Koster, 1955), Jean Simmons

in The British monarchy on screen