Doubtful and dangerous

The question of succession in late Elizabethan England

Edited by Susan Doran and Paulina Kewes

Doubtful and dangerous


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9359-7
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: June 2016
  • BIC Category: Early Modern History, History, United Kingdom, Great Britain, European history, HISTORY / Modern / 16th Century, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700, Humanities / British & Irish history
  • Series: Politics, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain


Doubtful and dangerous examines the pivotal influence of the succession question on the politics, religion and culture of the post-Armada years of Queen Elizabeth's reign. Although the earlier Elizabethan succession controversy has long commanded scholarly attention, the later period has suffered from relative obscurity. This book remedies the situation. Taking a thematic and interdisciplinary approach, individual essays demonstrate that key late Elizabethan texts - literary, political and polemical - cannot be understood without reference to the succession. The essays also reveal how the issue affected court politics, lay at the heart of religious disputes, stimulated constitutional innovation, and shaped foreign relations. By situating the topic within its historiographical and chronological contexts, the editors offer a novel account of the whole reign.

Interdisciplinary in scope and spanning the crucial transition from the Tudors to the Stuarts, the book will be indispensable to scholars and students of early modern British and Irish history, literature and religion.


'Doubtful and dangerous is the best collection of essays on Elizabethan history to appear in many a year. There are no weak essays in the volume, and Doran and Kewes must be congratulated for pulling together such a strong line-up of contributors.'
Paul J. Hammer, Huntington Library Quarterly, Autumn 2015

'Doran and Kewes have produced a remarkably cohesive yet considerably varied volume... It is an admirable achievement and an enjoyable read.'
Susan Royal, Durham University, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Volume 67, July 2016

'All in all, this is a fine volume, full of valuable insights and one which does credit to both the editors and the series.'
Nicholas Tyacke, University College London, The Parliamentary History Yearbook Trust 2016

'It contains much which is original and much for further research, and the Catholic perspective contains much that gives grounds for thought in different directions to the usual. Excellent bibliographical references throughout provide material for this thought. This is a worthwhile addition to the library of anyone interested in the question of the Elizabethan succession.'
Jasmin L. Ditcham, Wellington, Shropshire, The Sixteenth Century Journal, The Journal of Early Modern Studies. Volume XLVlll, No. 1, Spring 2017


Part I: Contexts and approaches
1. Introduction: A historiographical perspective - Susan Doran and Paulina Kewes
2. The earlier Elizabethan succession question revisited - Susan Doran and Paulina Kewes
Part II: Religion and politics
3. The Puritan, the Jesuit and the Jacobean succession - Paulina Kewes
4. Taking it to the street? The Archpriest controversy and the issue of the succession - Peter Lake and Michael Questier
5. Bishop Richard Bancroft and the succession - Patrick Collinson
Part III: The court
6. Essex and the 'popish plot' - Alexandra Gajda
7. The Scottish King and the English court: the secret correspondence of James VI, 1601-3 - Alexander Courtney
Part IV: Imaginative writings and the wider public world
8. The succession in sermons, news and rumour - Arnold Hunt
9. Hamlet and succession - Richard Dutton
10. The poetics of succession, 1587-1605: the Stuart claim - Richard A. McCabe
Part V: Britain and beyond
11. Polemic and prejudice: a Scottish king for an English throne - Susan Doran
12. Brinkmanship and bad luck: Ireland, the Nine Years' War and the succession - Rory Rapple
13. A view from abroad: continental powers and the succession - Thomas M. McCoog, SJ
14. States, monarchs and dynastic transitions: the political thought of John Hayward - R. Malcolm Smuts
Afterword - Blair Worden
Select Bibliography


Susan Doran is Senior Research Fellow in History at Jesus College, Oxford

Paulina Kewes is Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Jesus College, Oxford

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