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The Progress of the Virgin: The Construction of Elizabeth I

Clark, Jonathan (2021) The Progress of the Virgin: The Construction of Elizabeth I. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the construction of Queen Elizabeth I’s Virgin Queen persona, exploring her affiliation with virginity across her reign, from her ascent to the throne, throughout her marriageable years, and during her transformation into the Virgin Queen. It shall examine who had control over her public image and determine viable reasons for the persona’s emergence, including its value as both an imperial and nationalistic image. The first chapter shall establish Elizabeth’s religious image as a precursor to the latter Virgin Queen, as both sought to establish national unity under the central image of monarchy. This, and the contemporary reception of her religious settlement, will be examined through a study of John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments. The second chapter shall gauge Elizabeth’s apparent commitment to virginity and reluctance to marry, resulting in the emergence of the Virgin Queen image. Through studying two reinterpretations of the Judgement of Paris story, the painting Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses and George Peele’s The Araygnement of Paris, it shall demonstrate how Elizabeth’s image became imbued with allegorical symbolism pertaining to virginity, and its evolution across her reign. The third chapter explores Elizabeth’s own literary and artistic output, recognising how the public Virgin Queen emerged as she adapted to her role as queen in a historically patriarchal society.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jonathan Clark
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2021 15:54
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2021 15:54
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31577

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