Sir Walter Ralegh: Adventurer, Poet, Writer

Cover image Patriot of Traitor The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh

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A celebration of the polymath Sir Walter Ralegh in words and music

To coincide with the display of Ralegh's work in our Treasures Gallery, cultural historian Anna Beer speaks about his life and death in an illustrated lecture, bookended by short performances of his poetry set to music.

Sir Walter Ralegh was an adventurer, a poet and a writer, and while he is commonly known as ‘Raleigh’, Ralegh is the spelling most commonly used by the man himself. A man who loved maps, words and silk stockings as much as he could successfully steer a fleet of ships, and whose wit and charm propelled him to become one of the most successful courtiers in the Tudor court.

On 29 October 2018, it will be 400 years to the day since one of the most charismatic and controversial figures in English history was executed in Old Palace Yard, Westminster. So how could a man once considered favourite find himself consigned to the Tower by her successor? Should his legacy be fame or infamy?

Anna Beer seeks to uncover the truth about this problematic national hero who in his own lifetime polarised opinion, and whose legacy remains profoundly controversial to this day.

Anna Beer is a cultural historian and the author of biographies of Milton and Lady Bess Ralegh, as well as her new book Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh. Previous books include Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music which was praised by many including The Sunday Times who described Anna’s writing as ‘lucid, engaging and exuberant, strongly evoking the cultures and atmospheres that surrounded her subjects’. She is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford where she also lives.

Image: Detail from the cover art for Patriot of Traitor The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh


Name: Sir Walter Ralegh: Adventurer, Poet, Writer
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £12.00
Member: £12.00
Senior 60+: £10.00
Student: £8.00
Registered Unemployed: £8.00
Under 18: £8.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546