“Grace Rhys’ The Charming of Estercel as an Essex Novel” by Christian von Hassell

Christian’s wrote this essay as an independent study project under my supervision in the Fall of 2014.  Over the summer, Christian had focused especially on how Irish histories and literature had portrayed Essex–only to discover that Irish representations are surprisingly gentle on Essex.  Although the Irish have only contempt for Elizabeth and Cecil, they are oddly sympathetic toward the man who led the failed effort to suppress Tyrone.  In the course of his original research, Christian discovered a little-known novel The Charming of Estercel, written by Irish writer Grace Rhys in 1913.  In the novel, Essex not only appears as a historical figure, but he is also figured allegorically (as are other historical figures) as the young Irish man, Estercel.  Christian’s essay stands as the sole piece of significant scholarship on this fascinating novel.

Click here for essay