Elizabeth I: Or a Tale of Too Many Bios

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Elizabeth I: Or a Tale of Too Many Bios

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1uncultured
Abr 28, 2008, 8:21 pm

Hey everyone:
Just thought I would ask whether anyone here can recommend a biography of Elizabeth the First. I checked out Alison Weir's version from the library, but it seemed to focus so much on her various love interests and marriage proposals (and neither goes anywhere) that I decided to look elsewhere. There's a fat one by someone than Mary M. Luke in the library that was written in the early 70's...there's one at a local bookstore by Anne Somerset which looks fine too...I'm just looking for a general, in-depth biography. Most of what I find, though, is specialized stuff: Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth as a daughter of Henry VIII, Elizabeth as a redhead, &c &c &c, but general stuff seems kinda rare.

2Polite_Society
Abr 29, 2008, 11:50 pm

Mary M. Luke's book was turned into a popular(BBC, I think) mini-series, Gloriana. Here's another from the mid-1970s that I enjoyed: Elizabeth I A biography by Paul Johnson.

A snip from the dust jacket description:

"She had inherited a poor, divided, and defeated nation; she bequeathed a glittering legacy to her successors. Paul Johnson presents in absorbing detail the story of how this transformation was brought about, and, using copious quotations from the sources, he tells it to a large extent in the very words of the Queen and her contemporaries."

(Sorry, incorrect touchstones came up for the title.)

3skoobdo
Editado: Abr 30, 2008, 1:06 am

If you do not mind reading e-book, there is a chapter on the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 (1558-1603), it is about the general biography of her and the history of Catholicism during her reign.A very interesting read.

click (Chapter IV)
http://www.globusz.com/ebooks/Cath2/00000014.htm

everything about her, click
http://www.elizabethi.org/us

4OwenGriffiths
Maio 11, 2008, 5:19 pm

If you are in the Love-Starkey rather than Hate-Starkey camp then I would recommend his Elizabeth I, I think it is one of his better works.

5Picola43
Editado: Abr 21, 2009, 3:09 am

Hello, I too was overwhelmed by the many tomes on the splendid Elizabeth but someone recommended an older work by J.E. Neale, an English academic, called "Queen Elizabeth I", pub. originally in 1934 but still available. My copy is a 1998 Pimlico edition in soft cover and, in turn, I recommend it to you. I have since also read "Elizabeth The Word Of A Prince, A Life From Contemporary Documents" by Maria Perry. I have this in a Folio Society edition, 3rd ed. 1991 and simply could not put it down until I turned the last page. I was lucky enough to find a copy of a lovely book full of photographs/portraits by Mark Fiennes with a text by Susan Watkins, called In Public And In Private, Elizabeth I And Her World, in my favourite second-hand bookshop here in Geelong. These are the three books that stand out for me and I hope they are of some help and don't add to your confusion! Cheers.

6lilithcat
Mar 21, 2009, 7:01 pm

I second the recommendation of Paul Johnson's Elizabeth I. An oldie but a goodie.

7AnnaClaire
Mar 23, 2009, 12:48 pm

>5 Picola43:
You might want to correct your first touchstone: it goes to Alison Weir's The Life of Elizabeth I, not to the book you're talking about, J. E. Neale's Queen Elizabeth I.

Speaking of which, if memory serves, Weir's book was a good biography. (And Neale's book is already on my to-be-read pile.)

8Picola43
Abr 21, 2009, 2:59 am

>7 AnnaClaire:: AnnaClaire, I'm sorry about that mix up. I've had a look and can't figure out why it does that or what to do about it. Will fiddle around with it. Yes, the Weir book is good too.

9AnnaClaire
Abr 21, 2009, 9:34 am

No problem. It was clear which book you were talking about, and touchstones have been known to be wonky.

10FicusFan
Abr 21, 2009, 11:15 am



I have read both the Luke book: A Crown for Elizabeth and also another oldie: Elizabeth the Great by Elizabeth Jenkins, and enjoyed them both. That was probably back in the 70s though. You may want something with newer scholarship or interpretation.

I think Weir and Starkey both have have agendas. I read the Starkey book and it seemed nothing was credited to Elizabeth, or due to her, it was all really Henry VIII (who certainly was a big influence - but actually dead during her reign).

I read Weir's Princes in the Tower and just don't trust her after that. She had a conclusion and shaped her book to it.

11annesion
Maio 22, 2009, 10:44 pm

I would second the recommendation for Elizabeth Jenkins work Elizabeth the Great. While it is an older biography it holds up well and is considered a classic study of the queen.