Kings and Queens and Historical Scenes: The Portrayal of Monarchs in Late-Sixteenth- and Early-Seventeenth-Century Historical Narratives Written by Women
Historiography in the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries was not as clearly defined as it is today. It crossed genre boundaries, and because objectivity was not its main aim there was no condemnation of involving political agendas, religious views, and personal opinions either. Although the majority of historical narratives were written by men, a number of higher-class, well-educated women in Britain also took up their pens to write history, particularly when it involved historical monarchs. While these women were on the outside of political power dynamics, they often still had an insider’s perspective on the monarchy. This research looks at a three such works: Anne Dowriche’s The French Historie (1589); Elizabeth Southwell’s A True Relation (1607); and Elizabeth Cary’s Edward II (1626-1627). These texts are analysed in the context of the author’s biography, early modern debates on rulership and monarchy, and similar works by male contemporaries.
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