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"No historian's Queen Elizabeth was ever so perfectly a woman as the fictitous Elizabeth of Kenilworth," wrote Thomas Hardy. Scott's magnificent novel re-creates the drama and the strange mixture of assurance and profound unease of the Age of Elizabeth through the story of Amy Robsart. A woman of great beauty and integrity, Amy is married to the Earl of Leicester, one of the Queen's favourites, who must keep Amy confined to Cumnor Place and the marriage a secret, or incur royal displeasure.
In the court of Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, is favoured above all the noblemen of England. It is rumoured that the Queen may chose him for her husband, but Leicester has secretly married the beautiful Amy Robsart. Fearing ruin if this were known, he keeps his lovely young wife a virtual prisoner in an old country house. Meanwhile Leicester's manservant Varney has sinister designs on Amy, and enlists an alchemist to help him further his evil ambitions. Brilliantly recreating the splendour and pageantry of Elizabethan England, with Shakespeare, Walter Ralegh and Elizabeth herself among its characters, Kenilworth (1821) is a compelling depiction of intrigue, power struggles and superstition in a bygone age.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Walter Scott (1771-1832) was an extremely influential novelist, establishing the form of the historical novel and the short story. He wrote both dramas and novels, including The Antiquary and The Tale of Old Mortality.
J. H. Alexander is currently a Reader in English at the Unversity of Aberdeen and has published critical studies of Walter Scott's poetry. For the Edinburgh edition of the Waverley novels he has also edited The Bride of Lammermoor and A Legend of the Wars of Montrose.