In Her Own Words: Elizabeth I Onstage and Online

Bibliography for Adults

  • Doran, Susan. Monarchy and Matrimony: The Courtships of Elizabeth I. London: Routledge, 1996.
  • Erickson, Carolly. The First Elizabeth. New York: Summit Books, 1983.
    Elizabeth's personal and psychological development, with special attention to the roles played in her life by Seymour, Leicester, and d'Alencon. Erickson examines Elizabeth's consummate political skill as well as her often shrewish treatment of of her courtiers and ladies in waiting.
  • Frye, Susan. Elizabeth I: The Competition for Representation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  • Hibbert, Christopher. The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden Age. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1991.
    A vigorous popular biography that integrates cultural history with an account of Elizabeth's relationships with Tom Seymour, Kat Ashley, Leicester, Burghley, Mary Queen of Scots, and Essex.
  • Johnson, Paul. Elizabeth I: A Biography. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974.
    Detailed and sympathetic, with a political (rather than a romantic) emphasis. Johnson gives a sense of how Elizabeth's dealings with ambassadors, courtiers, and Parliament were affected by economics and the balance of power in Europe as well as by personalities.
  • Levin, Carole. "The heart and stomach of a king": Elizabeth I and the Politics of Sex and Power. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994.
    An investigation of Elizabeth's use of contemporary expectations of gender and monarchy to present herself and establish authority as both Queen and King.
  • MacCaffrey, Wallace T. Elizabeth I. London: Edward Arnold, 1993.
    This political biography shows Elizabeth as a princess who subordinated her private self to a necessary public persona. After a brief investigation of the early experiences that developed Elizabeth's political skills, MacCaffrey concentrates on her response to the problems of her reign.
  • Neale, John Ernest. Elizabeth I and her Parliaments, 1559-1581 and Elizabeth I and her Parliaments, 1584-1601. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1958 (repr. New York: W. W. Norton, 1968).
    With extensive examples of the oratory of parliamentary speakers, Neale examines Elizabeth's relationship to Parliament and shows the importance of parliamentary debates in defining Elizabeth's authority.
  • Neale, John Ernest. Queen Elizabeth I. London: J. Cape, 1938 (repr. New York: Doubleday, 1957).
    A seminal biography whose view of Elizabeth I as the romantic leader of a nation in peril is still widely held.
  • Perry, Maria. The Word of a Prince: A Life of Queen Elizabeth from Contemporary Documents. Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 1990.
  • Ridley, Jasper. Elizabeth I: The Shrewdness of Virtue. New York: Viking, 1987.
    Ridley emphasizes the interplay of psychology and politics, and Elizabeth's role in the critical decisions that shaped events. He portrays Elizabeth as "a very religious and conscientious woman, a convinced Protestant, determined to do her duty, as she saw it, to God and her people."
  • Rowse, A. L. The England of Elizabeth. Macmillan, 1951.
    Rowse reviews the effect on the structure of Elizabethan society of the developments characteristic of the age--in economics, class structure, government, law, religion, and education. He credits the uniqueness of England's Queen and Parliament for the social order in which creative genius flourished.
  • Strachey, Lytton. Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1928, 1956.
    In a vivid and novelistic exploration of character, Strachey presents both the broad view (Essex as the last glorious embodiment of "the spirit of ancient feudalism," already overtaken by the business-like new aristocracy created by Henry VIII) and the detailed intrigue. He describes Elizabeth as "the wisest of rulers, obsessed by a preposterous vanity, [who] existed in a universe that was composed entirely either of absurd, rose-tinted fantasies or the coldest and hardest of facts."
  • Strong, Roy C. The Cult of Elizabeth: Elizabethan Portraiture and Pageantry. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.
  • Strong, Roy C. Gloriana: The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. London: Thames and Hudson, 1987.
    Strong's books provide a rich source of images of Elizabeth I from paintings, woodcuts, engravings, etc., and of information about the artists who produced them. The numerous illustrations and the accompanying text reveal the discrepancies among representations of Elizabeth's physical appearance. Strong considers the varying purposes of the portraits--as preliminaries to marriage negotiations, as images of the abstract principles for which the Queen stood, or as cult images replacing the icons that were swept away in the Reformation.

In Her Own Words is sponsored by The Brown University Women Writers Project and The Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services.