The polarisation of Elizabethan politics : the political career of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, 1585-1597
Part of the Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History series
The final decades of the reign of Elizabeth I were marked by the meteoric career of her last great favourite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1565 1601), and the outbreak of bitter political divisions at Court and across the realm.
This revisionist study challenges the traditional 'romantic' image of Essex as a military incompetent and political dabbler.
Studying his career between his arrival at court in 1585 and his appointment as earl marshal at the end of 1597, the book casts Essex in a new light and re-examines his role in the outbreak of factionalism in Elizabethan politics.
Using an unparalleled range of manuscript and printed sources it explores the forces which drove Essex's career, why true political success remained frustratingly beyond his grasp, and how his efforts to achieve this success helped to fuel the polarisation of Elizabethan politics.