Thursday, June 26, 2008

Question from Emily - Historical accuracy of "I, Elizabeth"

Hello, great site!

I've looked all over, and no one seems to have addressed this on here, so I thought I'd go ahead...

My first real introduction to Tudor history was reading the book "I, Elizabeth" by Rosalind Miles years ago. Obviously, it's a work of fiction, and I know for a fact that there are invented episodes within it.

However, overall, what is your opinion on its historicity? I know several authors' works have been lambasted for taking too many liberties with history, but as far as I could see, this one seems to be pretty faithful to the historical narrative as we know it.

I was incredibly amused when I watched "Elizabeth R" and recognized a lot of the dialogue from reading "I, Elizabeth", and then found that quite a lot of the dialogue in both had been taken from contemporary accounts and/or letters.

Any thoughts, opinions?


Lara said...

Gosh, it's been so long since I read it (I think I bought it with college graduation money in 1994!), but I vaguely recall it being pretty good as both a novel and in its use of primary sources (as you mention).

Hopefully someone else can chime in!

Anonymous said...

As a historical novel, it does seem to go along the lines of 'the truth'. Tweeking here and there, as every novelist does, but most of the main elements of Elizabeth's story are shown.

I found it difficult to get used to Elizabeth's voice, however. Too strident, too in your face, too much me, me, me. Quite a departure from other novels in the way she is portrayed...most likely that is what threw me.

Elizabeth is usually portrayed, even with using original conversations, as more even, more willing to see both sides...not so tyranical. The author certainly did show a different style to Elizabeth's personality.