Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Question from Marie - Jane Austen's dislike of Elizabeth I

I was watching a documentary on Jane Austin last night. When Jane was a little girl, she wrote a satirical history booked entitled "The history of England." The commentator mentioned that she must have not like Elizabeth I much, because she drew a very unflattering portrait of her.

My question is, why did Jane Austin dislike Elizabeth I so much? Obviously, they lived in different times, so I wondering if in the Regency period of England's history, did people not think of Elizabeth I as "Gloriana" anymore? Why did her memory fall out of favor at this time? Why this change of view?


  1. Jane Austen's 'History of England' written when she was 15 was a parody making fun of contemporary history schoolbooks, especially the work of Oliver Goldsmith.It was on display at the British Library earlier this year and can be seen on the BL Online Gallery. Her sister Cassandra did the illustrations and it has been said that Jane herself was the sitter for the Mary Queen of Scots 'portrait'. Since it was meant only as a bit of fun it probably should not be seen as demonstrating any real opinions of the day.

  2. No idea about Austen's mischief-making, but Elizabeth's reign was held in relatively low esteem until the 1620s.

    It was only restored, and exaggerated, in reaction against Charles I - Camden had a large part in that, so I've read.


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