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Queen Anne: Patroness of Arts [Hardcover]

James Anderson Winn
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

26 Jun 2014
As the last Stuart monarch, Queen Anne (1665-1714) received the education thought proper for a princess, reading plays and poetry in English and French while learning dancing, singing, acting, drawing, and instrumental music. As an adult, she played the guitar and the harpsichord, danced regularly, and took a connoisseur's interest in all the arts.
In this comprehensive interdisciplinary biography, James Winn tells the story of Anne's life in new breadth and detail, and in unprecedented cultural context. Winn shows how poets, painters, and musicians used the works they made for Anne to send overt and covert political messages to the queen, the court, the church, and Parliament. Their works also illustrates the pathos of Anne's personal life: the loss of her mother when she was six, her troubled relations with her father and her sister, James II and Mary II, and her own doomed efforts to produce an heir. Her eighteen pregnancies produced only one child who lived past infancy; his death at the age of eleven, mourned by poets, was a blow from which Anne never fully recovered. Her close friendship with Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, a topic of scabrous ballads and fictions, ended in bitter discord; the death of her husband in 1708 left her emotionally isolated; and the wrangling among her chief ministers hastened her death.
Richly illustrated with visual and musical examples, Queen Anne draws on works by a wide array of artists - among them composer George Frideric Handel, the poet Alexander Pope, the painter Godfrey Kneller, and the architect Christopher Wren - to shed new light on Anne's life and reign. This is the definitive biography of Queen Anne.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 816 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (26 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199372195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199372195
  • Product Dimensions: 25.9 x 18.3 x 5.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 300,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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now she has found a champion to stand up for her and put the record straight (Darlington, Ayecliffe and Sedgfield Advertiser)

[Winn's] talent for descriptive prose and deep knowledge of literature, music, architecture, interior design and other allied fields ... make this book a rare treat, as he immerses the reader in the life, manners and preoccupations of the period. (Wall Street Journal)

...it is above all through his mastery of the literature of the period, and his ear for its cadences and echoes, that Winn lures us into the texture of the age. (Blair Warden, Literary Review)

Winn is an ace at picking up on subtleties in the period's music and poetry ... his writing and commentary, along with the musical samples found on the accompanying website, bring the queen's history to life. (Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

James A. Winn is William Fairfield Warren Professor of English at Boston University. His six earlier books include Unsuspected Eloquence (1981), a groundbreaking history of the relations between poetry and music; John Dryden and His World (1987), a prize-winning biography; and The Poetry of War (2008), praised by one reviewer as a book "for anyone who cares about war and truth."

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a beautifully researched and written analysis of the politics of art at the late Stuart court. Anne was the younger daughter of James II, the monarch forced from the throne for Catholicism; sister to Mary of William & Mary Protestant fame, and reigned as queen in her own right from 1702-14. Winn takes a broad view of the status of art at the Stuart court, and assesses Anne’s role as both patron and participant.

The book starts with her as a 10 year old princess taking part in a court masque, and ends with her death and funeral in 1714. This is the age of Pope, Swift, Dryden, Addison and Steele; of Handel and Purcell; and Winn does a fine job of offering subtle and persuasive readings of ‘texts’ (musical and visual as well as literary), without losing the thread of his narrative.

This is detailed enough for scholarly readers (with full end-notes) but is also a lively read for general interested readers. I work on the sixteenth century so was interested in getting a sense of court culture in a later period than my own, and Winn is an elegant and knowledgeable guide. If you’re looking for a wide-ranging view across the arts under the last of the Stuarts, this is superb.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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