History, Department of


Date of this Version

Fall 1992


Published in Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Autumn, 1992), pp. 591-593. Copyright © 1992 Renaissance Society of America; published by The University of Chicago Press. Used by permission.


Beautifully put together with magnificent illustrations. Perry's work has more the feel of a coffee-table book. What Perry, a professional actress, has done is to gather well chosen documents and string them together into a biographical narrative. Perry's great contribution is giving the reader Elizabeth in her own voice. Perry decided to do the book after performing "The Speeches of Queen Elizabeth I," and her enthusiasm for Elizabeth is obvious. ... Some of Perry's assumptions about Elizabeth are questionable and suggest pop psychology. I am not convinced that Elizabeth wept easily, nor would I characterize her as a "gentle creature" (p. 83). ... Her tone is often nonscholarly, and the language she uses is sometimes irritatingly filled with slang. The source notes at the end are not as easy to follow as numbered notes, though they make the text cleaner. Yet despite these criticisms, this is a handsomely produced book with some wonderful passages in Elizabeth's own words and fine descriptions of her by her contemporaries. Anyone interested in Elizabeth will thoroughly enjoy The Word of a Prince; scholars, however, will not learn much that is new.

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