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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0801  Thursday, 14 March 2002

[1]     From:   Jan Pick <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Mar 2002 18:47:04 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Mar 2002 19:25:32 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism

[3]     From:   Jack Heller <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Mar 2002 19:45:37 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism

[4]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Mar 2002 17:26:29 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism

[5]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Mar 2002 23:51:20 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jan Pick <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Mar 2002 18:47:04 -0000
Subject: 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism, his religious
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism, his religious
views?

There is absolutely no historical proof that Shakespeare was in any way
a Catholic.  None.  It is an interesting idea to explore, but to base
any sort of interpretation of his actions or writing on that assumption
is flawed.  There is as much evidence to suggest he was with a group of
players in the Low Countries with Leicester and was the Will sent back
with a letter by Sir Philip Sidney as suggested by Katherine
Duncan-Jones in 'Ungentle Shakespeare'!  Who knows.  It is interesting
that lawyers want to suggest Shakespeare worked as a lawyers clerk,
Catholics want to think he is Catholic, soldiers, a soldier, etc.
Historically, we do not know and until real evidence turns up we just
have to accept that we do not know, even if it is fun to speculate.

Jan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Mar 2002 19:25:32 -0000
Subject: 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism, his religious
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism, his religious
views?

Bill Arnold reports that some scholars think Shakespeare may have "lost
his Christian convictions altogether until his last hours. Indeed a
common opinion among critics holds that Shakespeare grew increasingly
pagan in outlook as his tragic view deepened".

The dark night of the soul represented by the Tragedies was succeeded,
well before WS's death, by the late dawn of the Romances, which are
Christian, certainly; and catholic (with a small c) in my opinion.

m

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Mar 2002 19:45:37 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism, his religious
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism, his religious
views?

Previous discussions on this list have encouraged me to be more
skeptical of the documentary/biographical "evidence" for Shakespeare's
Catholicism. However, I still find that occasions of repentance and
conversion in his plays conform more to Catholic than to Protestant
theological perspectives (as in "Much Ado" and "As You Like It" for
examples).

The research I've been planning and (sort of) working on raises a
question I would like to ask the listmembers. In the history plays,
consider Joan of Arc (La Pucelle) in "Henry VI" and the papal legate in
"King John." How would the portrayal of these characters agree with or
conflict with the perspectives of recusant or openly Catholic English
people in Shakespeare's time? Could/Would a late Tudor English Catholic
look down upon the papal legate, Joan, or other less-favorable Catholic
characters, perhaps for nationalistic reasons? Your comments will be
appreciated.

And about this:

> As the famous Elizabethan
> historian A. L. Rowse rightly points out, "We know more about him than
> about any other dramatist of the time, with the exception of Ben Jonson,
> who lived rather later and had a longer life."

Rowse is wrong. Plenty of biographical detail is available for
Middleton, more than is available for Shakespeare.

Jack Heller

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Wednesday, 13 Mar 2002 17:26:29 -0500
Subject: 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism, his religious
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.07393 Shakespeare and Catholicism, his religious
views?

""Rather, like Montaigne, he denies man

 

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