Troy professor masters manuscript project

Published 7:43 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dr. Harold Kaylor makes no bones about it.

He has fallen deeply in love with a famous English queen.

“I’m totally awed by Her Majesty’s mind,” Kaylor said. “Quite frankly, I’ve fallen in love with Elizabeth I. Totally infatuated. I have such a deep appreciation for her intellect that is so often ignored by those who write about her and those who have written about her.”

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Kaylor, professor of English at Troy University, worked with Dr. Phil Phillips of Middle Tennessee State University on a project titled, “The Consolation of Queen Elizabeth I: The Queen’s Translation of Boethius’ ‘De Consolatione Philosophie.’” Together, they complied the translation of the famous philosophical work by the queen.

Quan Mahn Ha, a Vietnamese graduate student at Troy University, wrote the introduction to the work, which was published this month by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Arizona State University Press.

“This project took 10 years and the Troy University Faculty Development Committee generously provided funding for me to study the actual manuscript at the Public Record Office in London,” Kaylor said. “The edition contains the queen’s translation and notes, both on the text and the manuscript. Mr. Quan’s introduction gives full background on the historical period in which Elizabeth I wrote and on the queen’s educational preparation prior to doing the translation.”

Kaylor said Queen Elizabeth I was a highly intellectual individual.

“She was perfectly fluent in her native English and in Latin, French, Italian and Greek,” Kaylor said. “She also spoke some Spanish and German. That is generally ignored in discussions of Her Majesty, so I wanted to look at her personal papers as opposed to published papers.

“In examining her personal papers, I was able to get into the queen’s mind and develop an appreciation for what an intellectual she was. I wanted to do justice to the intellect of Her Majesty. She lived at the time of William Shakespeare and understood theater 100 percent from costuming and staging effects to the dramatic effects in her reign.”

Queen Elizabeth I also had a private intellectual life that began when she was a child and tutored by Cambridge professors.

“We discovered her public mind and her theatrical mind,” Kaylor said. “Her private mind was profoundly intellectual. She enjoyed going to Cambridge and listening to Latin debates. She read Latin fluently. It was incredible to read the queen’s private papers in her own handwriting. I could tell by the changing shade of ink when she got up and went somewhere. By dealing with the level of intimacy, one can see a person in a way that one cannot when reading only biographies.”

Kaylor said perhaps future biographers will now take into account the intellectual depth of Queen Elizabeth I.

“The Consolation of Queen Elizabeth I: The Queen’s Translation of Boethius’ ‘De Consolatione Philosophie’” will be in libraries throughout the world.