While she worked hard at court, Elizabeth took time for leisurely pursuits. She loved music and could play the lute . Thomas Tallis and William Byrd were among her court musicians. Elizabeth also enjoyed dancing and watching plays. The arts flourished during Elizabeth's time with the creation of works by such greats as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe . Writers paid tribute to the queen in many literary forms. The poet Edmund Spenser based his character of Gloriana in The Faerie Queen on Elizabeth, and she was sometimes referred to by this name.
Until the revisionism of the twentieth century, John was rarely well regarded by writers and historians. He lost wars and land and is seen as the loser by giving the Magna Carta. But John had a keen, incisive mind, which he applied well to government. Unfortunately, this was negated by an insecurity about people who could challenge him, by his attempts to control barons through fear and debt rather than conciliation, through his lack of magnanimity and insults. It is difficult to be positive about a man who lost generations of royal expansion, which will always be clearly chartable. Maps can make for grim reading. But there's little that merits calling King John 'evil', as a British newspaper did.
In recent years, debates have arisen as to whether all biographies are fiction, especially when authors are writing about figures from the past. President of Wolfson College at Oxford University, Hermione Lee argues that all history is seen through a perspective that is the product of our contemporary society and as a result biographical truths are constantly shifting. So the history biographers write about will not be the way that it happened; it will be the way they remembered it.  Debates have also arisen concerning the importance of space in life-writing.