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Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History Paperback – March 19, 1969


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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest Book
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (March 19, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156283107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156283106
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,034,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), among the most famous writers of his time, was

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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Charlene Vickers on May 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Elizabeth and Essex is perhaps the finest example of Strachey's incomparable style. More poetic than prosaic, ripe with imagery and atmosphere, Strachey's elegant, vigorous prose is a treat to read.
This is all the more unusual given that Strachey is a historian. In most cases, his style doesn't get in the way of the story; his subjects are usually represented accurately and with respect.
Unfortunately, he doesn't quite succeed in this case. Strachey's Victorian sensibilities and Freudian view of his subjects often take him on wild flights of fancy that fail the test of Occam's razor. For instance, he asserts that Elizabeth was sexually disorganized based on a smattering of rumours which, he claims, prove that she had a deep-seated fear of sex and perhaps a hysterical block which prevented her from engaging in intercourse. Pretty convoluted reasoning, especially considering the fact that Elizabeth had perfectly sound political reasons to remain single.
Strachey's portrait of Essex is likewise suspect. He turns the proud scion of an ancient family into a manic-depressive basket case, but his evidence for this is scanty and his reasoning difficult to follow. Again, is it really likely that Essex plotted to overthrow the government because he saw himself as the true King of England, when a much more simple explanation (he was angry and felt insulted) comes to mind?
Yet even through the flights of psychological fancy and the wildly improbable motives, Strachey's portrait continues to enchant. I cannot stress strongly enough how enjoyable and entertaining this book is. Yes, one does have to take Strachey's explanations with a grain of salt, but the journey itself is a lot of fun and should not be missed.
I highly recommend this book.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in the personal details of the latter half of Queen Elizabeth's life, this is an excellent book to read. Her wars and reconciliations with the headstrong Lord Essex (many years her junior) are covered in just the right level of detail, so that the reader is never gorged on nor starved for insights into what made Gloriana such a remarkable figure. Strachey's first chapter gives a particularly adept placement of the Queen's personality within the court of England and the field of late-16th century Europe. Following chapters contain less politics and more humanity. (The slow, initially frustrated but inevitable rise of Francis Bacon's star is interesting.)
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By JP on September 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The seller stated the book only had "minor" marks throughout the book, however there were multiple pages where the reader had completely marked through the page, making it unreadable. There were personal comments written throughout the book, and numerous highlighting. This book is unreadable in many parts.
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