THE LAST ELIZABETHAN: A Portrait of Sir Walter Ralegh by Constance Fecher

THE LAST ELIZABETHAN: A Portrait of Sir Walter Ralegh

Email this review


Seeing only the ""sparkle and brilliance"" which some have called vanity and opportunism and forgiving the fact that ""none of his ventures succeeded"" because ""they blazed a trail for others to follow,"" Fecher paints Sir Walter in a flattering light. The court intrigues which formed the basis of his personal power and later engineered his protracted disgrace offer revealing contrasts between the reigns of Elizabeth and her successor James I, and Ralegh in his own defense -- quoted from contemporary accounts -- is eloquent and often charming. Sponsor of the Roanoke colony (though he never visited the New World), advocate of English seapower, gentleman poet and scientific experimenter, Ralegh was perhaps the archetypal Elizabethan; but as a figure of historical romance -- teaching the Virgin queen to smoke tobacco and tossing off witticisms on the way to his execution -- he is only mildly entertaining.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1972
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux