Styling Power: A Corpus-Linguistic Approach to the Correspondence of Queen Elizabeth I

  • Mel Evans
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


The letters of Elizabeth I provide valuable insights into the queen’s life and reign. Yet scholarship has largely focussed on her holograph letters, despite the archive primarily comprising scribal letters ‘by the queen’. This essay considers how Elizabeth’s power and queenship is constructed in her correspondence, using corpus linguistic techniques. The investigation identifies similar and contrasting features in scribal and holograph letters relating to the representation of the royal self and the positioning of the author in relation to the recipient. The discussion considers the impact of the associated features e.g. pronouns, on Elizabeth’s authority. It concludes with a case-study of a “hybrid” letter, in which scribal and holographic elements are combined, and finds that the text exploits the contrastive potential of both letter-types.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mel Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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