New biography of one of the key figures in British history focusing on both his writing and legacy. Sir Walter Raleigh is a figure writ large in popular imagination. Yet how can we understand this man who was soldier, voyager, visionary, courtier, politician, poet, historian, patriot and 'traitor'? We know some facts, and much can be learned from Raleigh's prose and poetry about his ideas, personality, feelings and values. Important new texts of his works have recently been published: we now possess reliable versions of his poems, his letters and his travel narratives. No biography of Raleigh, however, can be complete without an assessment of his posthumous reputation. Myths that accumulated around him tell us something about the man himself, but far more about the perceptions of his own and subsequent generations. Raleigh's talents as a writer ensured his positive legacy, but the appropriation of his legend for so many differing political uses has left us with a complex picture. In this original and important new biography Williams and Nicholls set this right.
Penry Williams is Emeritus Professor of History at New College, Oxford. Mark Nicholls is President and Librarian of St John's College, Cambridge.
Contents; Preface; Abbreviations; List of Maps; List of Illustrations; The Devon Man; The Favourite; Roanoke; The Outcast; El Dorado; The Rival; The Court Poet; The Suspect; The Traitor; The Prisoner; The Tower Writings; i The Tracts; ii. The Great History; iii. The Dialogue of Counsel; The Last Voyage; The Martyr; The Legacy; An Epilogue.