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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: March ::
Shakespeare and Southwell
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0151  Friday, 10 March 2006

[1] 	From: 	Sara Trevisan <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 9 Mar 2006 18:00:03 +0100
	Subj: 	Re:SHK 17.0141 Shakespeare and Southwell

[2] 	From: 	Peter Bridgman <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 9 Mar 2006 22:49:58 -0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0141 Shakespeare and Southwell


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sara Trevisan <
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Date: 		Thursday, 9 Mar 2006 18:00:03 +0100
Subject: Shakespeare and Southwell
Comment: 	Re:SHK 17.0141 Shakespeare and Southwell

Dear Bruce Young,

On the Internet I found that Shakespeare's being a distant relative to 
Southwell seems to have been known for a while.

You can check this site for one: 
http://www.pbs.org/shakespeare/players/player40.html "It's a scene of 
menace that could have leaped straight out of a Hannibal Lecter movie, 
and a moment of psychological barbarity that did certainly influence 
Shakespeare (Southwell was even a distant relative on his mother's side 
[...]"

In the same site the letter to W.S. is also reproduced (at least, the 
first page). Here's an interesting review: 
http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0406/reviews/oakes.htm

Just my own two cents--if W.S. had been Mr Nobody perhaps Southwell 
wouldn't have cared that much to know that he was his cousin... I am 
thinking of Davenant's many efforts to pass as Shakespeare's bastard son.

All the best,
Sara Trevisan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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Date: 		Thursday, 9 Mar 2006 22:49:58 -0000
Subject: 17.0141 Shakespeare and Southwell
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0141 Shakespeare and Southwell

Bruce Young asks ...

 >Has anyone identified a closer genealogical relationship between
 >Southwell and Shakespeare than the one I've found?

Christopher Devlin included an extensive family tree in his Southwell 
biography (1956).  The following is from Devlin's researches ...

Nicholas, 1st Lord Vaux, seems to be the link between the families. 
Lord Vaux's first daughter Anne married Sir Thomas le Strange.  Their 
daughter - also called Anne - married Anthony Southwell, the uncle of 
the Jesuit martyr.  Nicholas Lord Vaux's second daughter, Catherine, 
married Sir George Throckmorton.  Their grand-daughter Mary Throckmorton 
married the martyr Edward Arden.  For the link between Edward Arden and 
Shakespeare's mother, Mary, we have to go back to Sir Walter Arden of 
Parkhill.  Walter's eldest son Sir John Arden was Edward Arden's 
great-grandfather.  Walter's second son, Thomas, was Mary Arden's 
grandfather, and William Shakespeare's great-grandfather.

 >How certain can we be that the letter "To My Worthy Good Cosen
 >Maister W. S." was addressed to Shakespeare?

We cannot be entirely certain, but Shakespeare is the most likely 
addressee ...

1 - Robert Southwell had no immediate (1st or 2nd) cousins with the 
initials 'WS'.  We should therefore look a little further afield.

2 - The letter was first published in 1592, the same year as 'Venus and 
Adonis'.  In the letter Robert complains that "still the finest wits are 
distilling Venus' rose ... playing with pagan toys".  His letter ends 
"it rests in your will".

3 - It may be in reaction to this criticism, and to Robert's arrest 
(July 1592), that a chastened Shakespeare promised "a graver labour" for 
his next poem.

4 - All editions of the letter before Shakespeare's death are addressed 
to "my loving and worthy cousin", without naming the cousin.  The 
edition of 1616 (after Shakespeare's death) was the first to name the 
poet-addressee as "master WS".

5 - It seems that WS knew Southwell's work.  'Burning Babe' is used in 
Macbeth.  'The Nativity of Christ' in Pericles.

6 - Southwell was a frequent visitor at Southampton House.

Peter Bridgman

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