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A comprehensive and fascinating scholarly edition of Elizabeth's writings,
This review is from: Elizabeth I: Collected Works (Paperback)
This is the result of a marvellous scholarly project (2000) to publish Elizabeth I's `works': her letters, speeches, poems as literary artefacts in their own right. Locating this within the field of modern Renaissance studies, this comprehensive scholarly edition makes many of Elizabeth's textual productions available for wider reading, research and analysis.
All of the speeches, prayers and poems are here, with a selection of letters (which are, anyway, available in full elsewhere). Everything is translated into English (though there is a companion volume which gives us the foreign language originals: Elizabeth wrote often in French or Latin), and has been lightly and sensitively modernised in terms of spelling and punctuation. The collection has been organised into four periods of Elizabeth's life, and then by genre within each period.
As a self-consciously post-modernist project this allows the boundaries between genre, between public and private, between `literature' and the non-literary, even between the idea of an `author' and co-authorship to blur sometimes to the point of extinction.
This is a must-read for anyone working on early modern women's writing, monarchs' writing, letters or speeches as literary artefacts. With extensive contextual notes, and a really helpful index of names, it is also extremely accessible to general readers wanting to experience a direct and unmediated sense of Elizabeth and Elizabethan literary culture for themselves.