Ben Jonson

The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown

Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace on 24 March 1603 at the age of 69 after a reign of 45 years. Her health had been poor from the early 1590s onwards: arthritis, gastric disorders, chronic insomnia and migraines were just some of the ailments which plagued her. Yet, uniquely among English monarchs, she refused to make provision for the succession. James I made great efforts to ensure that his escape from the Gunpowder Plot would not soon be forgotten From Tudor to Stuart is Susan Doran’s enthralling account of the behind-the-scenes manoeuvres of those who had a viable claim to succeed the Virgin Queen. The group included the Habsburg Isabella

Four female writers at the court of Elizabeth I

Almost a century ago, in A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf claimed that if William Shakespeare had had an equally talented sister the obstacles to her sharing his vocation would have been insurmountable. Woolf’s argument that a woman needs ‘money and a room of her own’ in order to write proved persuasive. ‘Shakespeare’s sister’ has become a pop-cultural trope. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that the distinguished American scholar of the Renaissance Ramie Targoff should borrow the phrase for a study of four woman writers. Her title offers a shortcut to understanding how significant this immensely accomplished quartet is for readers and writers today. Not that Targoff’s elegantly readable, immaculately