Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0811  Friday, 15 March 2002

[1]     From:   R.A. Cantrell <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 14 Mar 2002 11:21:58 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0801 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

[2]     From:   Steve Roth <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 14 Mar 2002 17:25:40 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0801 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

[3]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 14 Mar 2002 21:17:14 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0801 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R.A. Cantrell <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 14 Mar 2002 11:21:58 -0600
Subject: 13.0801 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0801 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

> t is interesting
> that lawyers want to suggest Shakespeare worked as a lawyers clerk,
> Catholics want to think he is Catholic, soldiers, a soldier, etc.

Capturing the Bard is an old occupation. Shakespeare seems to know a lot
about Friars in a Friarless land. Bacon and Bungay may be in play as
well.

All the best,
R.A. Cantrell
<
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Roth <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 14 Mar 2002 17:25:40 -0800
Subject: 13.0801 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0801 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

>From:           Jan Pick <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

>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.

Agree completely. But the sum of the evidence--though some is no doubt
spurious--does show pretty conclusively that Shakespeare would have been
very aware of, and quite personally impacted by, the Catholic/Protestant
controversy. And that validates our perception of the many ambivalent
and multivalent echoes of that controversy that one finds throughout the
plays.

Understanding the intricacies of that controversy, with knowledge that
Shakespeare also understood them (no doubt much better than us, in most
senses), adds layers of import to the plays that would not be there for
us if this history had not been delved.

It gives grounds upon which to ask, and get some interesting answers to,
interesting questions like Jack Heller's:

>Could/Would a late Tudor English Catholic
>look down upon the papal legate, Joan, or other less-favorable Catholic
>characters, perhaps for nationalistic reasons?

Great question. Wish I knew the answer....

>From:           Geralyn Horton <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

>On a tangent to the "education" discussion: in the Writer's Museum in
>Edinburg last week I noted from his posted biography that Sir Walter
>Scot had a university of Edinburgh education -- but he matriculated at
>the age of 11 and graduated at 13!  He finished grammar school at 8,
>high school at 11.   Somehow I don't think this is the model in people's
>minds when discussing higher ed.

We had a discussion of education ages a while back re: Hamlet. I've
compiled the dates/ages of education for several prominent Elizabethans
at:

http://princehamlet.com/student.html

Thanks,
Steve

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 14 Mar 2002 21:17:14 -0500
Subject: 13.0801 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0801 Re: Shakespeare and Catholicism

>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

> However, I still find that occasions of repentance and
>conversion in his plays conform more to Catholic than to Protestant
>theological perspectives.

Jack Heller

Many aspects of official Anglicanism were catholic with a small c, and
Romance was a highly conventional genre under the Stuarts. Neither of
these aspects of Shakespeare's late work is inconsistent with the view
that he wrote what sold for the most money and had a knack for putting
his patrons' sentiments into euphuistic blank verse.

I'm more interested in the question of whether there is a pro Catholic
discourse in the plays than whether Shakespeare was a Catholic. Any
ideological discourse in the plays might be simple pandering to a
particular audience's sentiments. King John seems to some to be pro
Catholic because the sources that make John a hero for standing up to
the pope were blatant Protestant propaganda while Shakespeare
villainizes John. But the Church doesn't come off any better. Rather
than a defense of Catholicism, it seems to me more a statement about
good and evil motives, a good Reformation vs a bad Reformation.  The
prelates in the first scene of Henry V echo the same machiavellian (I
can't resist) political manipulation telling us that they want to
convince Henry to invade France to get his mind off seizing the Church's
property, an intention carried out by Henry VII and VIII, but this could
just as well be a comment on the practices of the contemporary Anglican
Church as of the historical Catholic, and neither need have anything to
do with the author's religious convictions.

Clifford

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.