50 Shades of Elizabeth; or, “Doing History” in Pop Fiction

  • Elizabeth Ann Mackay
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


Contemporary women writers’ historical fictional novels and popular romance novels about Elizabeth I are rich sites revealing complicated relationships between history- and fiction writing. This chapter explores women writers’ claims that their fictional novels are historically accurate, as well as their claims that their novels contribute to historiographical interpretations of Elizabeth I’s life and legacy. Therefore, this chapter investigates the language moves and rhetorical strategies women novelists use to influence and thereby convince readers to accept as “fact” their fictions about Elizabeth. Tracing the writers’ strategies, the chapter specifically attends to novels’ paratexts—authors’ notes, appendices, bibliographies, and the like—sites that frame novels in ways that they appear as scholarly monographs, and sites that best reveal women writers’ explicit claims to “do” Elizabeth I’s history.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Ann Mackay
    • 1
  1. 1.English DepartmentUniversity of DaytonDaytonUSA

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