Authorized Discourse at the Kenilworth Entertainments

Authorized Discourse at the Kenilworth Entertainments

Sterrantino, Joy

Early English Studies, vol. 1 (2007)


Much has been written on Queen Elizabeth I as the Virgin Queen, the scorner of courtiers, the wife (or husband) of England. Her favorite courtier was unarguably Robert Dudley, with whom she had a lifelong relationship. Her visit to Kenilworth in the summer of 1575 was the most extravagant and most famous of her reign. This paper argues that the Kenilworth entertainments are more than an example of her approach to ruling that insisted on being among her people. Nor are they just a vignette of royal indulgence. The greatest significance of her visit is her interaction with Dudley, with this visit being the culmination of a failing courtship that spanned almost twenty years. The crux of this argument is based on Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of “authorized discourse.”

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