Reading Monarch's Writing: The Poetry of Henry VIII, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth I, and James VI/I

Reading Monarch's Writing: The Poetry of Henry VIII, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth I, and James VI/I

Reading Monarch's Writing: The Poetry of Henry VIII, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth I, and James VI/I

Reading Monarch's Writing: The Poetry of Henry VIII, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth I, and James VI/I

Excerpt

PETER C. HERMAN & RAY G. SIEMENS

Reading Monarchs Writing:
Introduction

THIS ANTHOLOGY EXAMINES A BODY OF VERSE that has received surprisingly little attention: the poetry of Tudor and Stuart monarchs Henry VIII, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, and James VI/I. Despite all the enabling work that has been done on the intersections of poetry and politics in such "courtly makers" as Wyatt, Surrey, and Sidney, among many others, critics seem to have neglected the fact that monarchs also wrote verse. Although James's works have received some attention (due, in no small part, to Ben Jonson's recognition of his monarch's poetic activities), virtually nothing has been written on Henry VIII's lyrics. As for Mary Stuart, while she remains a popular figure outside of academia, and while her verse has remained continuously available, critics have all but ignored her verse. And while Elizabeth's speeches have come under in-

See Jonathan Goldberg, James I and the Politics of Literature (Stanford: Stanford
University Press, 1989), 17–24, and Kevin Sharpe, "The King's Writ: Royal Authors and
Royal Authority in Early Modern England," in Culture and Politics in Early Stuart Eng
land, ed. Kevin Sharpe and Peter Lake (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993), 117–
38. In addition, see Daniel Fischlin and Mark Fortier, eds., Royal Subjects: The Writings
of James VI and I (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, forthcoming), Peter C. Her
man, " 'Best of Poets, Best of Kings': King James VI/I and the Scene of Monarchic
Verse," forthcoming in Royal Subjects ; and Daniel Fischlin, " 'Like a Mercenary Poet':
The Politics and Poetics of James VI's Lepanto," Essays on Older Scots Literature , ed. Sally
Mapstone (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, forthcoming), vol. 3: 9.

See in this volume Peter C. Herman, " 'mes subjectz, mon ame assubjectie': The

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