The reader coming to this volume expecting a major new biography of Henry VIII’s second and most interesting queen is likely to be disappointed.
Elizabeth I (1533–1603) has been the subject of many fictional representations, some as early as the 1680s, speculating about her private life. Theatre plays, novels and later also films explored the allegations made against her during her life-time, such as suggestions that the Queen was infertile, that she was malformed, or in fact, a man or a hermaphrodite (p. 355).
In Mediatrix Julie Crawford seeks to expand our understanding of women’s contributions to early modern literary and political culture. Crawford seeks to look beyond the concept of the woman writer to instead focus on the ‘startling range of women’s literary practices’ and the ‘collaborative nature of literary production’ in pre-modern England (p. 3, p. 4).
Susan Doran is an established, well-respected Elizabethan historian, and her most recent book confirms that she can successfully analyze Elizabeth in ways accessible and interesting to both an academic audience and a popular one.
Pauline Gregg’s Freeborn John was previously the most recent full biographical work on John Lilburne. Published in 1961, Gregg’s work was extremely close to H. N. Brailsford’s seminal The Levellers and the English Revolution; the two works standing for decades as the cornerstones to Leveller historiography.