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The Heart and Stomach of a King Elizabeth I and the Politics of Sex and Power

by Carole Levin

  • ISBN: 9780812215335
  • ISBN10: 0812215338

The Heart and Stomach of a King Elizabeth I and the Politics of Sex and Power

by Carole Levin

  • List Price: $26.50
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Univ of Pennsylvania Pr
  • Publish date: 07/01/1994
  • ISBN: 9780812215335
  • ISBN10: 0812215338
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Description: "I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king". - Elizabeth I. Whether or not this sentence is an accurate transcription of Elizabeth's speech at Tilbury in 1588, it does characterize some of the struggles, contradictions, and cultural anxieties that dominated the collective consciousness of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. In The Heart and Stomach of a King, Carole Levin explores contemporary representations of the unmarried, childless Elizabeth, and focuses on the ways in which members of her court, foreign ambassadors, and a motley - and sometimes delusional - collection of subjects responded to her. Throughout, Levin's purpose is to explore how gender constructions, role expectations, and beliefs about sexuality influenced both Elizabeth's self-presentation and others' perceptions of her as a female, and Protestant, ruler. Levin focuses on topics such as the queen's succession; the representation of Elizabeth as a religious figure; reports of her sexual license and rumors about her legions of illegitimate children; and recurring stories of the survival - and return to power - of Elizabeth's long-dead brother, King Edward VI. Levin mines an extraordinary number of sources: tracts, pamphlets, religious works, Parliamentary statutes and speeches, sermons and homilies, plays and ballads, and diplomatic correspondence. But it is her reconstruction of gossip and rumor, and the use she makes of records of court cases involving people arrested for slandering the queen, that give The Heart and Stomach of a King much of its distinctive character. Levin notes that while these sources do not always provide accurate factual informationabout Elizabeth's life, they do provide a great deal of information about the social-psychological response to queenship. The Heart and Stomach of a King is a fresh, insightful, and provocative examination of Elizabeth I that helps us to understand the intersection of politics with gender and of sexuality with power. It will be of interest to students and scholars of English history and literature, and of Renaissance, women's and cultural studies.
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