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This collection of new essays about the earl of Essex, one of the most important figures of the Elizabethan court, resituates his life and career within the richly diverse contours of his cultural and political milieu. It identifies the ways in which his biography has been variously interpreted both during his own lifetime and since his death in 1601. Collectively, the essays examine a wealth of diverse visual and textual manifestations of Essex: poems, portraits, films; texts produced by Essex himself, including private letters, prose tracts, poems and entertainments; and the transmission and circulation of these as a means of disseminating his political views. As well as prising open long-held assumptions about the earl's life, the authors provide a diachronic approach to the earl's career, identifying crucial events such as the Irish campaign and the uprising, and re-evaluating their significance and critical reception. Collectively, the essays illuminate the reach and significance of the many roles played by the earl and the impact of his brief, dazzling life on his contemporaries and on those who came after, making this the first volume to offer a comprehensive critical overview of the Earl's life and influence.
Annaliese Connolly is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Sheffield Hallam University Lisa Hopkins is Professor of English at Sheffield Hallam University