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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: August ::
Re: Hoghton Tower Controversy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1371  Wednesday 4 August 1999.

[1]     From:   Judith Craig <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 3 Aug 1999 09:16:23 -0500
        Subj:   Shakespeare and Caltholicism

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 03 Aug 1999 14:51:08 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1365 Re: Hoghton Tower Controversy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith Craig <
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Date:           Tuesday, 3 Aug 1999 09:16:23 -0500
Subject:        Shakespeare and Caltholicism

David N. Beauregard writes:

>If he
>could have embraced English nationalism (I agree on that) he certainly
>could have been committed to Catholicism.  At any rate, the Lancastrian
>connection puts us position to develop a new profile of WS, which in the
>opinion of an increasing number of scholars, is more in line with the
>existing evidence and enables us to better explain the plays. WS is no
>longer simply the loyal servant of the queen, but someone living in
>tension with the Tudor and Stuart absolute monarchs.

I have not read Honingmann's argument in detail but have closely read
Schoenbaum's Life and am simply unconvinced that Shakespeare was a
Catholic.  What is the evidence for it other than a paper found in a
roof and Aubrey's remark that he was in his younger days a country
schoolmaster?   I find Schoenbaum's argument "that this particular
edifice alas crumbles upon close inspection" (William Shakespeare:  A
Compact Documentary Life, p. 114) convincing.

What new evidence has been brought forth that Schoebaum has not dealt
with?

Judy Craig

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Tuesday, 03 Aug 1999 14:51:08 -0400
Subject: 10.1365 Re: Hoghton Tower Controversy
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1365 Re: Hoghton Tower Controversy

For evidence that it was possible for an Elizabethan to have Roman
Catholic ideas about religion without sharing official Roman Catholic
political views we need to remember that through much of the
pre-Reformation period, when the English church was formally affiliated
with Rome, the English resented and resisted papal and imperial
domination-John's struggle against Cardinal Pandulph, dramatized in Jn,
and Henry II's breach with his friend and advisor Thomas a Becket, are
the best-known instances.  For a conspicuous Elizabethan example we have
Charles Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral at the time of the
Armada, and his cousin Thomas, Lord Howard of Arundel, the sons and
nephews and cousins and uncles of men and women convicted and executed
for treasonous involvement in Catholic plots under Edward, Elizabeth,
and James; their family's Catholicism did not prevent them from
effectively resisting Philip's attempt to bring England back into the
Catholic ambit.  Nor did John Donne divest himself entirely (or even
very extensively) of his Romish ways of thinking when he took Anglican
orders.

On another head, the practice of shriving-that is, confession and
priestly absolution-had its Anglican form: the General Confession and
the blessing that follows it stand just about at the center of Holy
Communion, soldiers and sailors going into battle and other people
facing danger commonly received the sacrament, and the service of The
Visitation of the Sick specifically prescribed that the minister should
"examine whether [the sick person] repent him truly of his sins," even
that the sick person "shall . . . be moved to make a special Confession
of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled by any weighty matter.
After which Confession, the Priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and
heartily desire it)."  [I quote here from the modern prayer book, since
I cannot conveniently get at a copy of the Elizabethan one, but I
believe that this material has not significantly changed since 1558.]
That remark about the sufferer desiring absolution honors Protestant
convictions about personal responsibility for salvation, but does not
otherwise qualify the practice.

Ecumenically,
Dave Evett
 

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