Day: October 22, 2011

Queen Elizabeth I- The Goulablogger Way

You’re going to have to want it more with Elizabeth Tudor than her medieval predecessors.

Elizabeth R  is simply hands down the best dramatic presentation of her life ever done, running some nine hours and going out of its way to match existing portraits of the people involved and frequently quoting from historical documents. Glenda Jackson’s Elizabeth strikes one more as a force of nature at times than a human being, but that makes the veneration in which she was held all the more believable. The series is available on dvd here, or for Amazon Prime members, free here. Needless to say, for Prime members this a great bargain, whether it is your first viewing or the fifth.

It is with the books that the effort is required, for the best books are fat books. Anne Somerset’s Elizabeth I is  generally cited as the best scholary biography, is a reasonably priced paperback, but not for the fain-heated at hearly seven hundred pages. “Almost too detailed” is a common review on Amazon. Things get no easier with my other recommendation, the Norton Critical Edition Elizabeth I and Her Age again resonably-priced but exactly seven hundred pages of historic source material including letters, chronicles, poetry and historians’ essays covering the history, background, and culture Elizabeth’s long reign.

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Shakespeare’s Histories- The Goulablogger Way

Buy Shakespeare’s An Age of Kings (costs a third of the nearest competitor)  and Shakespeare’s English Kings (reasonably-priced paperback and only the first one hundred eighty-six pages need concern you, and you’ll get your history straight, not dramatized). Watch, read, and enjoy. Or read, watch, and enjoy.

(You can also play a fair game of “spot the famous face in his/her youth”, and and even longer  game of “How many 60s-80s BBC regulars can you recognize?”)

Yes, the picture is not the best, but how often do you get almost sixteen hours of really good tv for little over a dollar an hour? And the book is very good  (almost too good/detailed) at disentagngling the history behind the plays.

Two Thumbs way up.