As an historical figure Mary Queen of Scots has been perpetually represented on canvas, page and stage, and has captured the British imagination since the time of her death in 1587. The 'real' Mary Stuart however has remained an enigma.
Mary Queen of Scots: Romance and Nation sheds light on Mary's life by exploring four main themes:
* the history of Mary's representation in Britain from the late Tudor period focusing on key periods in the formation of the British identity and closely analysing several texts against a background of the visual, musical and literary works of each period
* the reasons why those representing Mary have been so conscious that her image was largely a debatable fiction
* the identification of symbolic styles, using Mary to reveal the habits of representation in each historical period
* The link between the image of Mary Stuart and Britain's long struggle to define itself as a single nation, focusing on the roles of gender and religion in this development.
'Powerfully argued … Lewis offers stimulating readings of texts and images from all periods she discusses.' - Times Literary Supplement
'a book that will be of considerable value to those interested in history, literature, culture and national identity.' - Andrea Thomas, History