Elizabeth Russell’s Textual Performances of Self

Jessica L. Malay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Elizabeth Russell was a scholar, courtier, and religious activist during the reign of Elizabeth I. She was one of the famous Cooke sisters, and her early education included training in Latin, Greek, and modern European languages. She authored a diverse set of texts, including elegies, translations, prefaces, and progress entertainments, gaining a reputation as one of the most learned women in England. Through her texts she performed a narrative in which she promoted and published her preferred identity as the powerful matriarch of an increasingly successful elite family or "house." This identity, buffeted by the deaths of two husbands and the political vagaries of the time, required constant renegotiation both in its public manifestation and personal conceptualization. Her texts negotiated with culturally established definitions of the ideal "female," both appropriating discourses allowed to women and circumventing the restrictions for self-expression inherent in these discourses through a variety of discursive, spatial, and visual strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-168
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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