Professor Helen Hackett (Department of English)
Helen Hackett has been at UCL since 1990, following ten years of study and research at Oxford. Her publications include: ‘Virgin Mother, Maiden Queen: Elizabeth I and the Cult of the Virgin Mary’; ‘Women and Romance Fiction in the English Renaissance’; and ‘Shakespeare and Elizabeth: The Meeting of Two Myths’. She has also written extensively on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. She is co-director of the UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges.
Late Elizabethan: Literature and Culture at the End of an Era
The decade before the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 produced wonderful literature, but was also an age of anxiety, tense with uncertainty as to what would ensue from the old Queen’s death. Court writers made extraordinary assertions that Elizabeth had conquered mortality, making time stand still. How did innovative authors like Shakespeare and Donne respond to being young in an age grown old? Perhaps we can think of the long 1590s as a decadent fin-de-siècle with a distinctive and self-conscious ‘late style’, taking familiar conventions to new extremes,
and combining retrospection with new departures.