UNC Pembroke history Professor Charles Beem calls his newest book, “The Name of a Queen,” one of his favorite projects.
The full name of the book is “The Name of a Queen: William Fleetwood’s Itinerarium ad Windsor,” and it was published in April 2013 by Palgrave Macmillan. It was co-edited by Dr. Beem and Dr. Dennis Moore of the University of Iowa.
“When I was a graduate student, I sat for three days in the manuscript room of the British Library and copied out Fleetwood’s “Itinerarium ad Windsor” manuscript by hand,” Dr. Beem said. “Only three manuscript copies still exist today, but now a critical edition of this manuscript, surrounded by contextual essays, is available for scholars in our book.”
This is Dr. Beem’s fourth book, and his third on women rulers of England. He also co-edits the book series “Queenship and Power” for Palgrave Macmillan. The Name of a Queen is the twentieth title published in this series.
“I have carved a place for myself on the scholarship of English queenship,” he said. “Our latest book is a unique and original contribution to the scholarship on this subject.”
Recent honors for Dr. Beem’s scholarship include his election as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2012. In April, he was notified that his presentation “The Itinerarium ad Windsor and English Queenship” at the South Central Renaissance Conference was named winner of the Agnes Strickland Prize for Best Conference Paper.
William Fleetwood, author of the “Itinerarium,” was a 16th century scholar who, during a journey from London to Windsor, engages in a conversation with two other scholars, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, and Thomas Sackville, on the efficacy of female monarchs.
“Why should a woman, a queen, have the same power and prerogatives as a king?” Dr. Beem said. “A female ruler was controversial at this time.”
What results from the conversation is a paper that is a “remarkable defense of why queens, such as Elizabeth I, should be rulers of England,” Dr. Beem said. The treatise is approximately 17,000 words.
Dr. Moore took the three existing copies of the “Itinerarium” and forged an edition for publication. Dr. Beem wrote two contextual essays and co-edited the work of other contributors.
Fleetwood and his colleagues provided a justification for female rule that informed their contemporaries and modern scholars like Drs. Moore and Beem.
The book has earned some glowing early reviews. “This is a very useful book,” said Dr. Norman Jones of Utah State University. “To have the ‘Itinerarium’ available in a modern edition is valuable, and the accompanying essays are more valuable, enlightening to anyone interested in Elizabethan rhetoric, law, parliament, historiography and the many other topics bound up in this dialogue.”
“A very valuable work of scholarship for academics and students alike which makes accessible a rich source for our understanding of 16th century queenship,” said Dr. Anna Whitelock, senior lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Dr. Beem has been a remarkably prolific scholar and author with several publications to his credit including the books: “The Lioness Roared: The Problems of Female Rule in English History” (2006); “Royal Minorities of Medieval and Early Modern England” (2008); and “The Foreign Relations of Elizabeth I” (2011).
For his next book, titled “Queenship in Early Modern Europe,” Dr. Beem will widen the scope of his study of female rulers to the entire continent. Isabella of Spain, Catherine the Great of Russia and Marie Antoinette of France will be included in the survey.
“This project will take several years to complete,” Dr. Beem said. “It is a survey of queens in early modern Europe. This project expands my review of queenship.”