England's Elizabeth: An Afterlife in Fame and Fantasy by Michael Dobson;Nicola J. Watson

By Michael Dobson;Nicola J. Watson

No monarch is extra glamorous or extra arguable than Elizabeth I. The tales during which successive generations have sought to extol, clarify, or excoriate Elizabeth offer a wealthy index to the cultural background of English nationalism--whether they signify her as Anne Boleyn's anguish orphan or because the implacable nemesis of Mary, Queen of Scots, as realized stateswoman or as pissed off lover, persecuted princess or victorious warrior queen. This booklet examines the numerous afterlives the Virgin Queen has lived in drama, poetry, fiction, portray, propaganda, and the cinema over the 4 centuries considering her dying, from the aspiringly epic to the frankly kitsch. Exploring the Elizabeths of Shakespeare and Spenser, of Sophia Lee and Sir Walter Scott, of Bette Davis and of Glenda Jackson, of Shakespeare in Love and Blackadder II, this can be a full of life, lavishly-illustrated research of England's perennial fascination with a queen who's nonetheless engaged in a posthumous growth during the collective psyche of her state.

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Extra info for England's Elizabeth: An Afterlife in Fame and Fantasy

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The story this chapter tells is of how and why historical drama about Elizabeth emerged over the decades following her death, and of how it remained of crucial importance in her retrospective refashioning as an icon of lost national and theological wholeness over the remainder of the seventeenth century—not only on the London stage but in pamphlets, pageants, and poems. Part of this story is about how Elizabeth’s womanhood, a disabling problem for her popularity at the end of her reign, became an opportunity for her chroniclers after her death, often helping their refashioned, much-desired Elizabeth to exceed her official role in or as the state and to serve as a figure for Church, crown, City, and country all at once.

She smiled amd flung up her head with pride. ’ ‘I don’t believe you,’ he said with soft challenge. ’ She walked alone into the void. The corridor was gone and the light at the end of it; the darkness around her was absolute. She mastered a scream and held out one hand. ³⁴ And so the story ends, with Elizabeth and Leicester united forever, rather in the manner of the transparent ghosts of Cathy and Heathcliff who rise from their respective graves and run away over the moors together at the end of the  film adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

At the end she is silent and isolated, outside life and history alike, as the offstage chorus quote from the masque of Time’s truce with Concord which had celebrated Elizabeth as an evergreen rose in act : (Cecil disappears. )  (unseen). Green leaves are we, Red rose our golden Queen, O crowned rose among the leaves so green! What is perhaps most striking about Britten’s opera, though to us it may seem its most obvious and predictable (even congenial) ç  ! Introduction feature, is the mood of regret and nostalgia with which the composer evokes the dead Queen, lovingly recreating Elizabethan pageantry and Elizabethan cadences as he does so.

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