Watkins, John 1960–
Watkins, John 1960–
Born November 30, 1960. Education: Yale University, Ph.D., 1990.
Office—Department of English, 207 Lind Hall, University of Minnesota, 207 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455.
University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, associate professor.
Contributor to books, including The Cambridge History of Medieval Literature, edited by David Wallace, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1999; Catholicism and Anti-Catholicism in Early Modern England, edited by Arthur Marotti, Macmillan (Basingstoke, England), 1999; Early Modern English Poetry: A Critical Companion, 2nd edition, edited by Patrick Cheney, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2007. Editor of a special edition of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies; contributor of articles to academic journals, including Explorations in Renaissance Culture.
John Watkins's Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England: Literature, History, Sovereignty explores how images of Elizabeth I were interpreted in the century following her death. In the immediate years following her rule, images of Elizabeth were usually used as political propaganda and as a personification of England. James I, her successor, was seen as a Phoenix rising from her ashes, born to carry on Protestantism in England. The Elizabethan and Jacobean playwright Thomas Heywood presented Elizabeth in his play If You Know Not Me, You Know Nobody as the embodiment of the people, rather than an absolutist ruler, who reigns benignly and saves the country from the stern, vindictive Catholicism of Mary Tudor. Several decades later, after the living memory of the queen was extinguished, Elizabeth came to represent the notion of monarchical restraint.
During the Restoration that followed the Civil War, the feminine aspects of Elizabeth came to the fore in people's imaginations; the Virgin Queen was now seen as a woman of passions. Writers focused on her relationship with the Earl of Essex, and she was no longer the absolutist ruler, but a woman whose decisions stemmed from her personal desires. Watkins reviews the evolution of Elizabeth's image through the reign of Queen Anne, the last Stuart ruler, who consciously patterned herself after Elizabeth and adopted the same motto, but to a rather middling level of success.
Writing in Clio, Georgianna Ziegler called Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England "a thorough, mature study of Elizabeth's reputation in the century after her death" and "the place to go for analysis of Elizabeth's role, especially in the political literature of the time." Debora Shuger likewise called the work a "careful, provocative, and intelligent book" in a review for the Renaissance Quarterly.
In a review for the online journal H-Women, Amy Thompson McCandless noted that Watkins does not mention Shakespeare's depictions of Elizabeth, particularly in his play Henry VIII, but that he does show "the need to examine both the literary and historical representations of Elizabeth in order to understand the role sixteenth-century symbols played in the seventeenth-century's understanding of sovereignty." Regina Buccola, writing in Albion, concluded that "Watkins emerges here as a literary scholar with an expansive knowledge of both Tudor and Stuart history and their attendant political nuances." Buccola praised the book as an "excellent resource" and stated that "Watkins's literary interest in Elizabeth as monarch grows quite cogently out of his earlier work…. In this book, her very life becomes an epic, repeatedly reread and rewritten over the course of the seventeenth and long eighteenth centuries."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albion, April, 2003, Regina Buccola, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England: Literature, History, Sovereignty; winter, 2004, Shawndra Holderby, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, p. 650.
Choice, July-August, 2003, A. Kugler, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, p. 1976.
Clio, fall, 2003, Georgianna Ziegler, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, p. 53.
Comparative Studies in Society and History, April, 2004, Tobias Gregory, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, pp. 421-422.
English Historical Review, September, 2004, Bernard Capp, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, p. 1055.
History: Review of New Books, spring, 2003, Mary Hill Cole, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, p. 111.
International History Review, September, 2003, Mark A. Kishlansky, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, pp. 649-651.
Modern Philology, February, 2004, Jayne Elizabeth Lewis, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, p. 441.
Notes and Queries, December, 2003, Catherine Bates, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, p. 473.
Renaissance Quarterly, winter, 2003, Debora Shuger, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, p. 1299.
Sixteenth Century Journal, winter, 2003, Clifton W. Potter, Jr., review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England, pp. 1162-1164.
H-Women,http://www.h-net.org/ (July, 2003), Amy Thompson McCandless, review of Representing Elizabeth in Stuart England.