Queens and Power in Medieval and Early Modern England


Queens and Power in Medieval and Early Modern England

Edited by Carole Levin and Robert Bucholz
Associate Editors: Amy Gant, Shannon Meyer, and Lisa Schuelke

362 pages
12 illustrations


March 2009


$40.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

In Queens and Power in Medieval and Early Modern England, Carole Levin and Robert Bucholz provide a forum for the underexamined, anomalous reigns of queens in history. These regimes, primarily regarded as interruptions to the “normal” male monarchy, have been examined largely as isolated cases. This interdisciplinary study of queens throughout history examines their connections to one another, their constituents’ perceptions of them, and the fallacies of their historical reputations. The contributors consider historical queens as well as fictional, mythic, and biblical queens and how they were represented in medieval and early modern England. They also give modern readers a glimpse into the early modern worldview, particularly regarding order, hierarchy, rulership, property, biology, and the relationship between the sexes. Considering topics as diverse as how Queen Elizabeth’s unmarried status affected the perception of her as a just and merciful queen to a reevaluation of “good Queen Anne” as more than just an obese, conventional monarch, this volume encourages readers to reexamine previously held assumptions about the role of female monarchs in early modern history.

Author Bio

Carole Levin is Willa Cather Professor of History at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She is the author of Dreaming the English Renaissance: Politics and Desire in Court and Culture and The Heart and Stomach of a King: Elizabeth I and the Politics of Sex and Power. Robert Bucholz is a professor of history at Loyola University. He is the author of several books, including The Augustan Court: Queen Anne and the Decline of Court Culture, and the coauthor (with N. E. Key) of Early Modern England, 1485–1714: A Narrative History.
Contributors: Charles Beem, Robert Bucholz, Sarah Duncan, Timothy G. Elston, Elaine Kruse, Amber Harris Leichner, Carole Levin, Michele Osherow, Anna Riehl, Linda S. Shenk, Marjorie Swann, John Watkins, Michelle A. White, and Richardine Woodall.


“There’s a little bit for everyone here, especially for those interested in Elizabeth I, whose acts of mercy, travels, international relations, and representations in various guises are all covered, among other topics. . . . Those interested in any of the queens here will find this a rewarding book.”—Susan Higginbotham, Historical Novels Review

"These excellent essays are a joy to read. Together they question assumptions about pre-modern culture and offer new and interesting interpretations of queenship."—Retha Warnicke, Sixteenth Century Journal

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Introduction: It's Good to Be Queen

Robert Bucholz and Carole Levin


1. "Greater by Marriage": The Matrimonial Career of the Empress Matilda

Charles Beem

2. Widow Princess or Neglected Queen? Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII, and English Public Opinion, 1533–1536

Timothy G. Elston

3. "Most godly heart fraight with al mercie": Queens' Mercy during the Reigns of Mary I and Elizabeth I

Sarah Duncan

4. Princess Elizabeth Travels across Her Kingdom: In Life, in Text, and on Stage

Carole Levin

5. Marriage à la Mode, 1559: Elisabeth de Valois, Elizabeth I, and the Changing Practice of Dynastic Marriage

John Watkins

6. Queen Solomon: An International Elizabeth I in 1569

Linda S. Shenk

7. The Virgin and the Widow: The Political Finesse of Elizabeth I and Catherine de' Medici

Elaine Kruse

8. Crafting Queens: Early Modern Readings of Esther

Michele Osherow

9. "Shine like an Angel with thy starry crown": Queen Elizabeth the Angelic

Anna Riehl

10. Shakespeare's Queen Cleopatra: An Act of Translation

Richardine Woodall

11. "She is the man, and Raignes": Popular Representations of Henrietta Maria during the English Civil Wars

Michelle A. White

12. Sex and the Single Queen: The Erotic Lives of Elizabeth Tudor in Seventeenth-century England

Marjorie Swann

13. The "Stomach of a Queen," or Size Matters: Gender, Body Image, and the Historical Reputation of Queen Anne

Robert Bucholz

14. Two Poems

Amber Harris Leichner


Selected Bibliography



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