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

This book tells the story of English relations with Russia, from the 'strange and wonderfull discoverie' of the land and Elizabeth I's correspondence with Ivan the Terrible, to the corruption of the Muscovy Company and the Elizabethan regime's censorship of politically sensitive representations of Russia. Focusing on the life and works of Giles Fletcher, the elder, ambassador to Russia in 1588, it explores two popular themes in Elizabethan history: exploration, travel and trade and late Elizabethan political culture. The book draws together and analyses the narratives of travel, the practicalities of trade and the discourses of commonwealth and corruption that defined English encounters in late sixteenth century. In the early stages of English mercantile contact with Russia, diplomatic negotiations took shape in the wake of developing trade relations and were made up of a series of ad hoc embassies by individuals. The embassy of Giles Fletcher in 1588, however, represented a change in diplomatic tack. Fletcher's writing of Russia reveals some shared Elizabethan images of the land on Christendom's periphery and fundamentally how Russia was used as a site to reflect on themes of cultural development, commonwealth, trade and colonisation. The extensive use in Fletcher's text of the language of anti-popery points to resonances with the anxieties that riddled the political and religious consciences of late Elizabethan England. His work engaged in cajoling the commonwealth to think with the image of Russia.

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Felicity Jane Stout

detailed exegesis of the Russian state provided an opportunity for his readers to explore conceptions of government, embodied in the idiom of ‘commonwealth’, and its renaissance antithesis – tyranny. In this sense, the study of Fletcher’s works connects us directly to two historiographies that are often separated, to the 1 Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth detriment of both: that of Elizabethan travel and trade literature, linked to Fletcher’s term ‘Russe’, and that of late Elizabethan political culture, epitomised by his use of the term ‘commonwealth

in Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth
Renaissance emotion across body and soul
Erin Sullivan

. 1075. 14 Milward, ‘Wright, Thomas’. For an extended consideration of Essex’s attitudes towards religious tolerance and the significance of Wright’s return, see Alexandra Gajda, The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture (Oxford: Oxford

in The Renaissance of emotion
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A historiographical perspective
Susan Doran and Paulina Kewes

Late Elizabethan Political Culture (Oxford, 2012); of James’s correspondence and its role in smoothing his accession, see Alexander Courtney, ‘The Accession of James VI to the English Throne, 1601–1603’ (M. Phil., University of Cambridge, 2004). 32 To name but a few, Alison Shell, Catholicism, Controversy and the English Literary Imagination, 1558–1660 (Cambridge, 1999); Molly Murray, The Poetics of Conversion in Early Modern English Literature (Cambridge, 2009); Andrew Hadfield, Literature, Politics and National Identity: Reformation to Renaissance (Cambridge, 1994

in Doubtful and dangerous
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Peter Lake

), Sacred History: Uses of the Christian Past in the Renaissance World (Oxford, 2012), pp. 3–26. Lake, Bad Queen Bess?, passim. A. Gajda, The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture (Oxford, 2012), ch. 6. ‘Early Stuart libels: an edition of poetry from manuscript sources’, ed. A. Bellany and A.  McRae, Early Modern Literary Studies Text Series, 1 (2005), available at (accessed 21 Sept. 2017). A. Kiséry, Hamlet’s Moment: Drama and Political Knowledge in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2016). See the splendid treatment

in Writing the history of parliament in Tudor and early Stuart England
Medieval history in parliamentarian polemic, 1641–42
Jason Peacey

of Elizabeth I: Court and Culture in the Last Decade (Cambridge, 1995), pp.  87–108; J.  G.  A.  Pocock, ‘Medieval kings at the court of Charles I: Thomas May’s verse histories’, in J.  Marino and M.  Schlitt (eds), Perspectives on Early Modern and Modern Intellectual History (Rochester, NY, and Woodbridge, 2000), pp. 442–58. 3 Giovanni Biondi, An History of the Civill Warres of England, trans. Henry, earl of Monmouth (1641). 4 A. Gajda, The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture (Oxford, 2012), pp.  212–15, 236–54; P.  E.  J.  Hammer

in Writing the history of parliament in Tudor and early Stuart England
The Archpriest controversy and the issue of the succession
Peter Lake and Michael Questier

Spain and his Ministers (London, 1594). The State of Christendom, the tract identified by Alexandra Gajda as having been written by Anthony Bacon on behalf of the Essex faction in 1594–5, also took this form, as did the translation into English of Antonio Perez’ memoirs, also prepared for Essex in 1595; see her ‘The State of Christendom: history, political thought and the Essex circle’, Historical Research, 81 (2008), 423–46 and The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture (Oxford, 2012), pp. 87–8. 62 Persons consistently claimed that he had never sought

in Doubtful and dangerous
Ireland, the Nine Years’ War and the succession
Rory Rapple

the Public Sphere in Early Modern England (Manchester, 2007), pp. 95–115; Mervyn James, ‘At a crossroads of the political culture: the Essex revolt, 1601’, in Society, Politics and Culture: Studies in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1986), pp. 416–65. 16 Northumberland to James, CJRC, p. 66. 253 Britain and beyond 17 See Alexandra Gajda, The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture (Oxford, 2012). 18 Capt. Egerton to L. D. Fitzwilliam, 8 October 1593, TNA, SP63/172/2 XIX; ‘Declaration of Richard Nugent … made to the Lord Chancellor &c’, 19 April

in Doubtful and dangerous
Alexandra Gajda

Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). For Essex’s career see P. E. J. Hammer, The Polarisation of Elizabethan Politics: The Political Career of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex , 1585–1597 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Janet Dickinson, Court Politics and the Earl of Essex, 1589–1601 (London: Pickering and

in Essex
Censorship, poetry and Fletcher’s later career
Felicity Jane Stout

historians, c. 1590–1630’, in K. Sharpe and P. Lake (eds), Culture and Politics in Early Stuart England (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1994), pp. 21–44. 46 A. Gajda, The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). See also A. Gajda, ‘Debating war and peace in late Elizabethan England’, Historical Journal, 52:4 (2009), 851–78. 47 Smuts, ‘Court-centred politics’, p. 22. 48 D. Norbrook, Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, rev. edn), p. 154. 49 Smuts, ‘Court

in Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth