Valerie Schutte: women’s libraries in the age of Mary I

The independent historian Valerie Schutte recently gave a paper on ‘Pre-accession Printed Book Dedications to Mary and Elizabeth Tudor’ at the WSG’s seminar series.  Valerie’s  Mary I and the Art of Book Dedications: Royal Women, Power, and Persuasion is published by Palgrave Macmillan and is out now.  You can read a sample chapter here.  Valerie has another title, The Birth of a Queen, marking the 500th anniversary of Mary I’s birth, also in Palgrave’s Queenship and Power series, coming out in the spring.

After the seminar the WSG blog had a chance to catch up with Valerie about her various projects:

“I have several projects I am working on that are of interest to the WSG, and I can’t wait to come to another seminar to talk about them. Many still relate to Queen Mary I. I actually mentioned these at the WSG meeting and got lots of positive feedback. I plan on writing an article titled “Mary in Miniature.” I frequently get asked if any images are connected to the book dedications to Mary. Generally the answer is no. Mary’s books and manuscripts tend not to be illuminated or have gorgeous decoration. In “Mary in Miniature,” I am going to address this lack of images as well as address the few manuscript images of Mary that do actually exist. For my other project on Mary I am planning an essay on her relationship with Hampton Court Palace. This is a palace that she chose to use and visit for the most important personal occasions in her reign, such as her honeymoon and her first childbirth. I am going to address why she chose this palace and how she used it as Queen.

My next major project is one that I mentioned at the WSG meeting and was highly encouraged to pursue. In my first monograph, I spent a chapter recreating the personal library of Queen Mary I. It was some of my most rewarding and enjoyable research. Rather than undertaking a monograph on only one woman’s library and books dedicated to her, I have decided to write one where each chapter is about one woman related to or connected with Queen Mary I, such as Jane Dormer. Each chapter will cover a different woman and her books. Once I have around five or seven women and have recovered their literary history, I will put them together in a monograph along with an introduction and conclusion that tie the patterns of their libraries, book collections, and dedications together. This will allow me to draw conclusions about Mary’s literary influence at court.”

We’re looking forward to hearing further details of Valerie’s work as these projects progress.  You can see Valerie’s webpage for further details and relevant cfps.  Along with her Unexpected Heirs in Modern Europe and Shakespeare’s Queens (co-edited with Kavita Mudan Finn) collections, it looks like Valerie is going to be extremely busy in 2016.

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