The Maturation of the Queen

  • Donald Stump
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


This chapter argues that Spenser’s Belphoebe typifies the youthful woman Elizabeth and Britomart the ruler as she grew to full maturity. Seeing the strife in Books II-V as a covert outworking of the conflict between Catholic and Protestant Englishmen in Book I, the chapter explores the queen’s struggles with Mary Stuart and her backers from 1560 to 1587, Elizabeth’s fraught courtship of the Duke of Anjou, and her erotic relationships with Leicester, Ralegh, Hatton, and Essex. Along with veiled criticism of the queen as a virgin Venus, resembling both chaste Florimell and her false Petrarchan twin, the allegory reproves her failure to adequately resolve growing tensions between England’s traditional agricultural economy and its rapidly expanding trading interests, a symbolized in the rivers Thames and Medway.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Stump
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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