Collaboration in the Parliamentary Speeches of Queen Elizabeth I

  • Leah S. MarcusEmail author
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


This chapter studies Queen Elizabeth I’s speeches before Parliament and parliamentary delegations as collaborative works. All of her speeches are “collaborative” in the form they have come down to us because our best records of them, in the absence of recording devices, are usually contemporary transcriptions by auditors. These are often lively and quite similar from one transcriber to another, which suggests that the transcriptions are fairly faithful to the speech as actually presented. Less reliable are the versions prepared at court for publication: paradoxically, these versions, likely revised by members of her government but possibly also by Elizabeth I herself, are typically much more abstruse and complex in terms of syntax, lacking much of the glowing language and elegant simplicity of the speeches as recorded by auditors. Thus, collaboration has both enabled our experience of a set of orations that were very highly valued by Elizabeth’s contemporaries, but also allows us to see that in the speeches destined for publication, for which we have the fullest documentation, the published version was often considerably less “Golden” than the speech as the queen is likely to have delivered it.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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