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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Elizabeth and Essex: A Tragic History Paperback – March 19, 1969

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), among the most famous writers of his time, was
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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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is a lovely book. The author's mastery of the English language is a pleasure to savor. I will keep this book to re-read and I'm sure I will enjoy his way with words and his way with a story again and again. He makes his characters come to life. If you love Elizabethan history, if you love the English language, read this book, you won't be disappointed. I wish I were articulate enough to do justice to his art.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Strachey is deeply sympathetic of both Elizabeth and Essex, recognizing their strengths and their tragic shortcomings. Most modern biographies of Elizabeth rake her over the coals for her famously dithering and constipated decision-making process, but Strachey makes a good case for indecision as a political weapon, and cites this quality as part of Elizabeth's genius. The relationship between this hugely complex 70-year old queen and the magnificent but deeply flawed earl is dissected factually and emotionally. An amazing achievement. Jill Masters has a beautiful, silky voice and brings real poignancy to this subtle work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This kindle book must be one of the best deals around. Strachey's storytelling is captivating from the beginning. This book would be a pleasure to read no matter what, given the author's beautiful writing. Considering that it is about one fascinating, witty monarch, and one tragic love story makes it impossible to resist. Great (his)story, fantastic writing, perfect price!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had no idea what to expect when I came across this book. Most free downloads are nothing special. But this was a terrific read. It isn't "history" as that is done today.. The author has a strong voice and constantly gives us his gloss on events in florid language and his characterizations of the main characters states of mind at given moments which no professional historian would do so boldly. But it isn't fiction, as there is little that is outside the record either. I would call it storytelling and it was magnificent. I zipped right through the book and enjoyed it immensely.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lytton Stachey renders historical personages into living sculptures who possess personalities,passions and wit.What could be a boring history lesson turns into a peek from behind the curtain.
TURN off the TV and allow your imagination to costume these intrigues.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is the story of the "love"/relationship between queen elizabeth the first and robert deveraux,the second earl of essex. lytton strachey has written this as a grand ,sweeping novel,mixing in lots of true life facts with his own way of telling their' story. it makes a great read. it has a sort-of insider/tabloid/talk show-type feel to it-and THIS really happened-to these people! it is a fascinating book.
as i read it,i couldn't help but feel futility because, i knew robert would crash and burn at the end. i wish he had tried to save himself,but,alas..this is tragedy on a grand scale. do not miss this one!
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