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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: December ::
Re: Henry VIII
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2293  Monday, 10 December 2000

[1]     From:   Pat Dolan <
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        Date:   Friday, 8 Dec 2000 11:27:13 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.2277 Re: Henry VIII

[2]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Saturday, 09 Dec 2000 12:47:36 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2277 Re: Henry VIII

[3]     From:   Judy Lewis <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Dec 2000 20:53:25 +1300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2277 Re: Henry VIII


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Dolan <
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Date:           Friday, 8 Dec 2000 11:27:13 -0600
Subject: 11.2277 Re: Henry VIII
Comment:        RE: SHK 11.2277 Re: Henry VIII

Dear Folks,

Back in the days before politics infected education, my Catholic
elementary school and high school insisted that the Reformation (of
course, they called "Revolt") in England derived from inordinate lust,
that Calvinism said that the elect could commit any sin, since acts had
nothing to do with salvation and Henry died of syphilis resulting from
his failure to adhere to Roman Catholic Marriage Laws. Most medical
analyses of his condition suggest something else. As I recall near the
end of his life he had a lesion on his upper leg, suggestive of some
sort of circulation problem. But he didn't suffer from syphilitic
dementia.

Cheers,
Patrick

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Saturday, 09 Dec 2000 12:47:36 +0000
Subject: 11.2277 Re: Henry VIII
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2277 Re: Henry VIII

Thanks to those who have offered information on Henry VIII and syphilis.
All of it is helpful. The children of those afflicted often suffer from
a number of symptoms, which suggests a reason why Queen Elizabeth may
have feared pregnancy and thus been hesitant to marry. The consequences
of inherited syphilis are touched on in Ibsen's The Doll House, where
the family friend eventually dies from it, but I am hoping to be able to
include a more scientific discussion.

Stephanie Hughes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judy Lewis <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Dec 2000 20:53:25 +1300
Subject: 11.2277 Re: Henry VIII
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2277 Re: Henry VIII

According to Brewer's British Royalty, pub Cassell, 1996: Syphilis first
appeared in Europe in Spain in 1493, brought back from America by
Columbus. (They gave us that as well as McDonalds and KFC!!!).  The
hypothesis is that Prince Arthur was infected and passed it on to
Catherine of Aragon who in turn gave it to Henry.  Evidence for this is
Catherine's maternity record and the fact that her only surviving child
Mary was obviously congenitally syphilitic.  Henry's physical and moral
degeneration throughout his reign leave little doubt as to the cause -
"he changed from a young man of great promise into a violent, brutal and
ill-balanced tyrant."

I would question the Arthur bit here - I don't think there is any real
doubt that the marriage between Catherine and Arthur was not
consummated, and Henry had an active sex life from early on and could
easily have caught it and infected Catherine.  Pure speculation - but
maybe one of Catherine's Spanish ladies in waiting caught his eye.

Hope that's helpful

Judy Lewis
 

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