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The rituals and rhetoric of queenship; medieval to early modern.


The rituals and rhetoric of queenship; medieval to early modern.

Ed. by Liz Oakley-Brown & Louise J. Wilkinson.

Four Courts Press


287 pages




The days in which historians mentioned queens only as political pawns or mothers are, fortunately, long gone. In this addition to the list of queenship studies, Oakley-Brown (Renaissance literature, Lancaster University) and Wilkinson (medieval history, Canterbury, Christ Church University) present essays on the roles of English-born queens from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century. The sections are divided into "rituals" and "rhetoric", followed by one on the subversion of both by the queens themselves. The final section discusses later representations of the first two queens regnant, Mary and Elizabeth Tudor. Ritual emphasizes the traditional roles of queens, mainly in the realm of family connections. The sixteenth century, which saw the first English and Scottish female rulers, was also one in which the status of women declined. The articles on rhetoric and subversion give clues as to the reason for this, as the queens labored to assert their masculine right to rule especially when they became the subjects of often slanderous treatises designed to subvert them. Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart receive the most attention, including studies of their letters. It would be interesting to see a second volume on how these British women compare with their continental contemporaries. Distributed in North America by ISBS

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2010
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