The Marlowe Society

Reading List

Reading List

Books on Elizabethans & Elizabethan Life

Marlowe Biographies
Queen Elizabeth I by J.E.Neale

*Queen Elizabeth I

  • Author: J.E.Neale
  • Published: First Edition: Jonathan Cape 1934. Many subsequent editions.
  • Details: Hard cover. 400pp. [Contents List]
  • ISBN: 0712666117 (1998 Edition)
  • Summary: Long held to be the definitive, comprehensive work on Elizabeth I's reign.
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester by Alan Kendall

*Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

  • Author: Alan Kendall
  • Published: Cassell, London (1980)
  • Details: Hardback. 259pp.
  • ISBN: 0304304425
  • Summary: Well-researched biography of Leicester providing a balanced assessment of the many intrigues involving Queen Elizabeth's favourite, who was admired by some, but hated by many.

*Mr. Secretary Walsingham and the Policy of Queen Elizabeth

  • Author: Conyers Read
  • Published: Oxford University Press 1925.
  • Details: 3 Vols. Hard cover. 443pp, 433pp, ???pp.
  • ISBN: 1593860005 (2003 Reprint)
  • Contents: Vol I: Early life, French Embassy, Treaty of Blois, Massacre at St. Bartholomew's, French Affairs, Dutch Affairs 1573-78, Embassy to the Low Countries. Vol II: Alencon, Scottish Affairs 1570-85, Catholics and Puritans, Plots and Counter Plots. Vol III: Babington Plot, Beginning of War 1584-6, Scotland and France 1585-8, Armada, Year after Armada, English Maritime Enterprise, Private Affairs.
Walsingham: Elizabethan Spymaster and Statesman by Alan Haynes

Walsingham: Elizabethan Spymaster and Statesman

  • Author: Alan Haynes
  • Published: Sutton Publishing 2004.
  • Details: Hard cover. 288pp.
  • ISBN: 0750931221
  • Summary: Acknowledges Read as a major source, but much condensed (not always for the better), and some minor updates to Read.
The Queen's Agent: Francis Walsingham at the Court of Elizabeth I by John Cooper

*The Queen's Agent: Francis Walsingham at the Court of Elizabeth I

  • Author: John Cooper
  • Published: Faber & Faber July 2012.
  • Details: Paperback. 400pp.
  • ISBN: 057121827X
  • Reviews: History Today; LRB; Telegraph.
  • Summary: Highly-acclaimed biography of Walsingham, and his role as 'SpyMaster' and protector of England's protestant Queen.
The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I by Stephen Alford

The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I

  • Author: Stephen Alford
  • Published: Penguin June 2013.
  • Details: Paperback. 416pp.
  • ISBN: 0141043652
  • Reviews: Guardian; Times HE.
  • Summary: Generally well-researched study of Elizabethan plots, spies and informers, including Robert Poley. Marlowe's death though referred to disappointingly as an "argument over a tavern bill".
God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England by Jessie Childs

*God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England

God's Secret Agents: Queen Elizabeth's Forbidden Priests and the Hatching of the Gunpowder Plot by Alice Hogge

God's Secret Agents: Queen Elizabeth's Forbidden Priests and the Hatching of the Gunpowder Plot

  • Author: Alice Hogge
  • Published: HarperCollins 2005.
  • Details: Paperback. 464pp.
  • ISBN-10: 0060542276; ISBN-13: 978-0060542276
  • Reviews: Catholic Historical Review; Guardian; Telegraph.
  • Summary: Exciting account of those Catholic priests working under cover in protestant England from the 1580's to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

Mr. Secretary Cecil and Queen Elizabeth

  • Author: Conyers Read
  • Published: Jonathan Cape 1955.
  • Details: Hard cover. 510pp. [Extracts]
  • ISBN: 0224610171 (1965)
  • Contents: Queen of Scots (1570); Lord Burghley; Ridolfi Plot; French Marriage; Dutch Revolt; St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre; Scotland (1572-3); Anglican & Puritan; Theobalds; Huguenots; Low Countries (1576-8); Alencon; Jesuits; Low Countries (1581-4); Scotland (1581-5); Leicester; Mary Stuart's End; Henry of Navarre; Peace Overtures; Armada; Essex; Attack on Puritanism; 1596; Last Days.
Sir Walter Raleigh by Robert Lacey

Sir Walter Raleigh

  • Author: Robert Lacey
  • Published: Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1973, 1975, 2000.
  • Details: Hard cover (1973), Paperback. 415pp.
  • ISBN: 0297765574 (1973); 1842120891 (2000)
  • Summary: Based on the chronology of Ralegh's own writings. Lacey is renowned for his original and painstaking research.
A Survey of London by John Stow

*A Survey of London

  • Author: John Stow
  • Published: Sutton Publishing 2005.
  • Details: Paperback. 442pp.
  • ISBN: 0750942401
  • Summary: A full edition of Stow's A Survey of London (1598), with a brief biography of the author, plus an introduction by Antonia Fraser.
Tudor England Observed: The World of John Stow by Barrett L. Beer

Tudor England Observed: The World of John Stow

  • Author: Barrett L. Beer
  • Published: Sutton Publishing 1998.
  • Details: Hard cover. 224pp.
  • ISBN: 0750919434
  • Summary: A view of Elizabethan life via extracts from Stow's Survey of London (1598)
Life in Elizabethan England by A.H.Dodd

Life in Elizabethan England

  • Author: A.H.Dodd
  • Hardback: Batsford (1961) 176pp.; Book Club Associates (1973) 224pp.
  • Paperback: John Jones Publishers (1998) 240pp.
  • ISBN: 187108346X (Paperback)
  • Summary: A scholarly & well-researched overview with plentiful illustrations. Covers: Court; Country & Town Life; Home Life; Church; Education; Arts & Pastimes; The Poor; Travel at Home & Abroad.
Elizabeth's London by Liza Picard

*Elizabeth's London

  • Author: Liza Picard
  • Published: Phoenix Non-fiction/History.
  • Details: Paperback (2004). 389pp.
  • ISBN: 0753817578
  • Summary: A fascinating and wide-ranging portrait of Elizabethan London and Londoners. Thoroughly researched but with an easy-going style, there's an intriguing nugget on almost every page.
The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer

*The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

  • Author: Ian Mortimer
  • Published: Vintage 2012.
  • Details: Paperback. 420pp.
  • ISBN: 0099542072
  • Reviews: Guardian; History Today; Independent.
  • Summary: Well written and thoroughly researched travel guide to Elizabethan England, with fascinating details throughout of everyday life along with that of the rich and famous.
Twenty Days Dead by Daphne Breen

Twenty Days Dead

  • Author: Daphne Breen
  • Published: Kindle Ebook (2013).
  • Details: Kindle Edition. 199pp.
  • ASIN: B00EUDO8G0
  • Summary: An Elizabethan thriller set in Stockport, with well researched historical detail. A stranger's visit triggers a nightmarish sequence of events for Sara Shaw, including her own funeral.
  • * Recommended as indispensible reading.