Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Christopher Paris


Patricia Lonchar


This work celebrates the influence of Elizabeth I on Elizabethan society and literature. In the opening of his Shakespearean Negotiations. Stephen Greenblatt describes writing as an outlet for the dead to speak to the living through "textual traces of themselves" that "make themselves heard in the voices of the living". These textual traces form the foundation for the critical theory of New Historicism, which perceives such traces as a conduit for literary critics to learn about an author's view of the nation, and era, in which he or she lived. In "The Elizabethan Subject and the Spenserian Text," Louis Montrosse describes New Historicism in terms of interpretation: "a new historical criticism takes as its subject that interplay of culture-specific discursive practices in which versions of the Real are instantiated, deployed, reproduced—and also appropriated,contested, [and] transformed". Literature and art, according to New Historicist theory, can demonstrate the impact of social and political factors because writers and artists can use their works to comment on their culture's values and their nation's future; Indeed, the culture In which he or she lives affects an author and shapes how that writer comments on his or her country. In Renaissance Self-Fashioning. Greenblatt observes that "[I]iterature functions within this system in three interlocking ways: as a manifestation of the concrete behavior of its particular author, as Itself the expression of the codes by which behavior Is shaped, and as a reflection upon those codes" (4). A writer's commentary provides an image of how that author perceives his or her time and nation; therefore, critical examination of the literary works of a particular period can help to reveal the way people of the time thought about their society.