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Dangerous TalkScandalous, Seditious, and Treasonable Speech in Pre-Modern England$
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David Cressy

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199564804

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199564804.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2021

Elizabethan Voices

Elizabethan Voices

(p.61) 4 Elizabethan Voices
Dangerous Talk

David Cressy

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents seditious voices from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, including attacks on the queen's gender and sexuality, using judicial records and government correspondence. By combining letters, indictments, depositions, and judicial examinations, it retrieves parts of the lost conversations of Elizabethan England that show slanderous and traitorous words. From the very beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign, some subjects already challenged their monarch's religion. Another recurrent Elizabethan rumour claimed that Edward VI was still alive, so that neither of his half-sisters could be lawful monarchs. Such fantasies encouraged the emergence of pretenders, and fed the circulation of conspiracy theories. Their tenacity in popular discourse reflects a propensity to wishful thinking as well as anxiety about the royal succession. However, no subject drew such lively interest, or such creative speculation, as the queen's sexuality.

Keywords:   Queen Elizabeth, sexuality, Edward VI, gender, Elizabethan England

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