ELIZABETH AND ESSEX: a tragic history

Written by Lytton Strachey
Category: · History

“A beautiful and memorable book”
The Atlantic Monthly

ELIZABETH AND ESSEX is the classic account of the turbulent relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. It is a story of attraction, passion and treason, and describes the way in which, although strongly drawn to each other, Elizabeth and Essex struggled for power. The story ends with Essex’s rebellion and execution.

ELIZABETH AND ESSEX is not simply a book about history: it is a romance which ends in tragedy. When it was first published, ELIZABETH AND ESSEX was a provocative book, which divided opinion, because of the way in which the author, Lytton Strachey, blended historical fact with speculation about the inner lives and feelings of the characters.

Lytton Strachey’s story inspired a feature film – The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davis), as well as an Opera, Gloriana, written by Benjamin Britten to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.


LYTTON STRACHEY was a member the Bloomsbury Group, as well as a writer and biographer. Amongst other books, he wrote Eminent Victorians and Queen Victoria.



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