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Written by Emmeline
(8/25/2004 10:12 a.m.)
[Austen's] presentation of Mary, Queen of Scots (and of Elizabeth I) resembles that in Sophia Lee's The Recess, or a Tale of other times (1783-5). Elizabeth, 'she who oppressed her equal, and a Queen' (i. 81) is presented as unattractive: 'a servere, satirical smile marked her countenance, and an absurd gaiety her dress' (i. 205). Beautiful, hapless Mary inspires the admiration of all: 'I saw friends and enemies united in the eulogium of the royal Martyr.--What magnanimity, what sweetness, what sanctituded did they assign to her--she became a bright example in the most awful of trials' (4th edn. [London, 1792], ii. 56) [Oxford]
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