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Queen Elizabeth's Book of Oxford
edited by Louise Durning
translated by Sarah Knight
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2006
Cloth: 978-1-85124-315-0

In 1566, Queen Elizabeth I visited Oxford for the first time. She toured the colleges, gave lectures, and attended a play in her honor at Christ Church. She was presented with a companion—a handbook made specifically for her and now fully reproduced as Queen Elizabeth's Book of Oxford.


Newly translated, the book's Latin verse is written in a conversational tone as a lively discussion between the revered Queen and a knowledgeable guide. The volume also includes exquisite pen-and-ink drawings of Oxford's most famous buildings and an illuminating introduction by Louise Durning that places the text in its proper historical context. As Durning relates, Queen Elizabeth's Book of Oxford served several purposes, the most important of which was Oxford's interest in the Queen's potential patronage of a new college. Although Elizabeth never honored the request, she was eventually honored as the "founder" of Jesus College.


Queen Elizabeth's Book of Oxford offers a glimpse into the process of patronage during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It will be treasured by scholars of Elizabethan history as well as by anyone interested in the historical development of universities around the world.

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