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Elizabeth I

Translations, 1592-1598

England’s Virgin Queen, Elizabeth Tudor, had a reputation for proficiency in foreign languages, repeatedly demonstrated in multilingual exchanges with foreign emissaries at court and in the extemporized Latin she spoke on formal visits to Cambridge and Oxford. But the supreme proof of her mastery of other tongues is the sizable body of translations she made over the course of her lifetime. This two-volume set is the first complete collection of Elizabeth’s translations from and into Latin, French, and Italian.
            Presenting original and modernized spellings in a facing-page format, these two volumes will answer the call to make all of Elizabeth’s writings available. They include her renderings of epistles of Cicero and Seneca, religious writings of John Calvin and Marguerite de Navarre, and Horace’s Ars poetica, as well as Elizabeth’s Latin Sententiae drawn from diverse sources, on the responsibilities of sovereign rule and her own perspectives on the monarchy.  Editors Janel Mueller and Joshua Scodel offer introduction to each of the translated selections, describing the source text, its cultural significance, and the historical context in which Elizabeth translated it. Their annotations identify obscure meanings, biblical and classical references, and Elizabeth’s actual or apparent deviations from her sources. 
            The translations collected here trace Elizabeth’s steady progression from youthful evangelical piety to more mature reflections on morality, royal responsibility, public and private forms of grief, and the right way to rule.  Elizabeth I: Translations is the queen’s personal legacy, an example of the very best that a humanist education can bring to the conduct of sovereign rule. 

512 pages | 5 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2008


“These volumes are a mine of interesting materials for Elizabethan scholars, and will probably contribute to redeem some of Elizabeth’s ‘minor’ poetical works (the meters from De consolatione and her rendering of Plutarch) from neglect. Readers are presented with some original discoveries, such as the fact that Elizabeth used Erasmus’s Latin version of Plutarch as her source text, and with very informative (but never obtrusive) footnotes throughout more than a thousand pages of text. . . . Janel Mueller and Joshua Scodel provide here a series of documents which will allow readers to acquire an unique insight into Elizabeth’s formative years.”

Carlo M. Bajetta | Times Literary Supplement

“Janel Mueller and Joshua Scodel are to be applauded for making a genuinely new contribution to the field, by rising to the considerable challenge of a comprehensive edition of Elizabeth’s translations. These two handsome volumes complete a set begun by the Collected Works of Elizabeth (edited by Mueller with Leah S. Marcus and Mary Beth Rose in 2000) and the accompanying volume of source materials, Autograph Compositions and Foreign Language Originals (which appeared from Mueller and Marcus in 2003). The four volumes together will not only grace any bookshelf, but will engender much fruitful discussion: not only of Elizabeth, who may now take her place as a significant and accomplished early modern author; but also of translation, as an important literary art of the period which we are perhaps still only beginning to take as seriously as we should.”

Helen Hackett | Journal of the Northern Renaissance

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
For acknowledgments and General Introduction, see Elizabeth I: Translations, 1544–1589.
I           ca. 1592: Cicero’s Pro M. Marcello
II          1593: Boethius’s De consolatione philosophiae
            Book 1
            Book 2
            Book 3
            Book 4
            Book 5
III        1598: Plutarch’s De curiositate (Desiderius Erasmus’s Latin version)
IV        1598: Horace’s De arte poetica, Lines 1–178
            Index of Names


MLA: MLA Prize for a Scholarly Edition

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