Authors: Queen Elizabeth I

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"Queen Elizabeth I," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Elizabeth I: collected works, ed. L. S. Marcus, J. Mueller, and M. B. Rose (2000)

Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) is perhaps the greatest monarch to have ruled Britain. Her early education included Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, and French. (Her first letter was written in Italian.) She had read the classics, and was familiar with the literary accompishments of her contemporaries. Elizabeth translated Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy (as had Chaucer) among other works.

Elizabeth was an accomplished prose stylist and poet. In her works, she seems acutely aware of the persona she creates, and toys wittily with the distinction between the royal persona and the royal person. It is a distinction that Shakespeare makes much of in King Lear (note Lear's uneasy vacillation between the royal "we" and the personal "I" in his confrontation with Cordeilia).

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