The Muscovy Company and Giles Fletcher, the elder (1546-1611)
Author: Felicity Stout
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth examines English relations with Russia, from the 'strange and wonderfull discoverie' of the land in 1553 and Elizabeth I's correspondence with Ivan the Terrible, to the corrupt culture of the Muscovy Company and the political sensitivities surrounding writing on Russia. Focusing on the life and works of Giles Fletcher, the elder, ambassador to Russia in 1588, this work explores two popular subject areas of Elizabethan history: exploration, travel and trade and late Elizabethan political culture. As well as examining these two subjects as inextricably linked, this book seeks to redress the imbalance in scholarship of the 'discovery era' that has so often looked to the 'New World' of the Americas at the expense of northern sites of exploration and exploitation. By analysing the pervasive languages of commonwealth, corruption and tyranny found in both the Muscovy Company accounts and in Fletcher's writings on Russia, this monograph explores how Russia was a useful tool for Elizabethans to think with when they contemplated the nature of contemporary government, the politics of the Elizabethan commonwealth and the changing face of monarchy in the late sixteenth century. Foregrounding early modern reading practices and censorship, alongside analysis of mercantile and diplomatic documents, this work will appeal to academics and students of Elizabethan political culture and literary studies, as well as those of early modern travel and trade.