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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: Elizabeth I
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0594  Wednesday, 31 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Jimmy Jung <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Mar 1999 11:03:41 -0500
        Subj:   Inaccuracies in Elizabeth

[2]     From:   Naomi Liebler <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Mar 1999 16:49:33 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0547 Qs: Elizabeth I

[3]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Mar 1999 08:16:51 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.057 Re: Elizabeth I


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jimmy Jung <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Mar 1999 11:03:41 -0500
Subject:        Inaccuracies in Elizabeth

Now that I have finally seen the film, I am curious about the
inaccuracies in Elizabeth and if there is preferred (and somewhat
concise) biography of her.

Jimmy

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Naomi Liebler <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Mar 1999 16:49:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.0547 Qs: Elizabeth I
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0547 Qs: Elizabeth I

To Christine Tsai: Try _Dissing Elizabeth: Negative Representations of
Gloriana_, ed. Julia M. Walker, Durham and London: Duke University
Press, 1998. It's got everything you're looking for, both contemporary
documents and commentary by modern scholars.

Cheers,
Naomi Liebler

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 30 Mar 1999 08:16:51 +0000
Subject: 10.057 Re: Elizabeth I
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.057 Re: Elizabeth I

>If the question about her virginity is about the Queen as politician,
>then she was a virgin head of state. If the question is about the Queen
>as a person, it is much more interesting to consider her courtship
>experiences, orchestrated by statecraft, and her hesitations and
>indecision with her most serious suitor.

>Heidi Arnold

Much reading about Elizabeth, her father's reign, the other queens of
the period, and the difficulties that all women in positions of
authority must face has led me to conclude that Elizabeth probably never
did "give herself" to a man. As has been pointed out a number of times,
her extremely negative attitude towards marriage, exhibited on numerous
occasions throughout her reign, does not necessarily mean that she was
negative towards sex. However, if she was personally frightened of sex
(sex in the Clinton definition) for some reason, then that would
certainly color her attitude towards marriage, where she would HAVE to
have sex.

Her entire history would certainly give sufficient cause for her to fear
sex.  From age two, when her mother was beheaded on (trumped up) charges
of sexual misconduct and labelled a "whore" by history for all time,
certainly for her own time, making her the child of a whore, till eight
when her cousin was beheaded for the same "crime"; the agonizing death
of her surrogate mother, Catherine Parr, in childbed; the nightmare of
her sister's marriage and false pregnancies; the execution of the first
man who wooed her, Thomas Seymour, because he had wooed her, and her own
close call with death because of it, would be enough to give pause to
any woman, no matter how intensely her hormones were singing in her
veins. To top it off she saw the results of allowing her heart to rule
her head with the grim events of her cousin Mary Queen of Scots.  On the
political side she had everything to lose and almost nothing to gain by
having sex. Sex would have endangered her personal power on all levels.
Sex would have endangered her health and her reputation by the
possibility of pregnancy.

That she never allowed herself this intimate freedom would go far to
explain her hysteria when someone else in her court community allowed it
to themselves. Her tantrums over the sexual peccadilloes of her
Courtiers went far beyond what one would expect from an adult who was
satisfied herself. They certainly speak to one who was sexually
repressed, and very angry about it.

There is no way to know, of course, but that she did in fact remain a
virgin seems very likely to me. Henry IV of France is quoted as saying,
"There are three things that the world believes are not true but that I
know are true. One is that General -------- is a good soldier, one is
that the Queen of England is a virgin, and one is that I am a good
catholic." (Or something to that effect.) Since he was the brother of
the suitor who came the closest to actually marrying the Queen, his
opinion might be respected.

Stephanie Hughes
 

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