Shell 1999

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Shell, Alison. ‘’Catholicism, Controversy, and the English Literary Imagination, 1558-1660. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

argues that prejudice against study of Catholics / Catholic literature is ongoing

argues for including Catholics among the downtrodden of early modern England; women, homosexuals, Jews

The livid flash: decadence, anti-Catholic revenge tragedy and the dehistoricised critic

"All critics are agreed that the strobe-like imagery of Italianate revenge-tragedy lights up the corrupt world inhabited by the speaker and the other characters; none has demonstrated an awareness that both the corruption of that world, and the means of its illumination, are conceived in speci®cally anti-Catholic terms. In fact, there are innumerable parallels between the imagery of Webster and Middleton and the apocalyptic image-clusters of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century anti-Catholic polemic, and the former is designed to evoke the latter.” (23)

Catholic poetics and the protestant canon

”But though Crashaw has been deracinated by the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, he was certainly not isolated at the time. Among his countrymen, he was in ̄uential; plenty of English poetry is Crashavian, both in print and -- as so often with Catholic verse -- in manuscript” (57)

Robert Southwell, Richard Crashaw — tears poetry

"Though it would be a mistake to claim that Southwell single-handedly re-introduced imaginative religious poetry to England after the Reformation, the posthumous publication in 1595 of his collection Saint Peters Complaint gave sacred verse a definitive new direction, and helped to create a climate in which non-biblical religious poetry became increasingly acceptable.” (57)
"Scholarship has tended to concentrate on the influence of South- well's short poems upon the religious lyricists of the next generation: naturally enough, given how ®rmly literary studies are still tied to anthological familiarity. But a wider view of Southwell's influence on the longer religious poem, and on private meditations ± indicates how he met a common devotional need which, in Protestant circles, was only just beginning to be acknowledged again.” (61)

Southwell executed in 1595, poems published in printed very shortly thereafter; widely read and popular

English Calvinist piety did not tend to encourage passion narratives (64)

du Bartas helped encourage the rise of religious poetry; defense of divine poetry (France, 1574); 1595, first English translations of his Divine Weeks 65-6) -- entered the print marketplace at the same time as Southwell

Southwell's preface condemns secular verse: "And because the best course to let them see the errour of their workes, is to weave a new webbe in their owne loome; I have heere layd a few course threds together, to invite some skillfuller wits to goe forward in the same, or to begin some ®ner peece, wherein it may be seene, how well verse and vertue sute together" (67-8) -- perhaps aimed at Sidney

Shell suggests that Southwell's writings against amatory secular verse may have influenced Spenser (72)

"A poet committed to maintaining the moral high ground for Protestantism, as Spenser was, might well have found it very unpleasant reading, and he might have borrowed its best ideas for the Protestant cause; the two reactions need not have been exclusive of one another." (72)

Spenser used Southwell to armor his defense of Protestant religious poetics

Southwell also led Thomas Lodge (Catholic) to rethink his career, renouncing his former secular verse in his religious meditation Prosopopeia (1596)

Herbert also influenced by Southwell

" Southwell's own poems continued to be printed in clandestine Catholic editions even after his verse had entered the publishing mainstream, and he was imitated by other Catholic poets who had their texts circulated in manuscript and published by secret presses; but, more conspicuously, he was copied by the authors of long poems written for direct or almost direct publication by the London book trade." (79)
"Southwellian pieces tend to be characterised by a combination of two factors: the internalised lament and call to repentance of a ®gure from the Gospels ± St Peter, St Mary Magdalen, St John ± together with prefatory material which repeats Southwell's criticism of secular verse and calls for poets instead to write about sacred things." (80)
"Continental meditative treatises, both Catholic and Protestant, were used by English Protestants,VQ and Protestant dissociation from Catholic devotional traditions was at most times more rhetorical than actual. There was little in medieval spirituality comparable to the Stabat Mater and the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary, but describing the sufferings of Peter, John or Mary Magdalen by the Cross; so to that extent prayers by these ®gures would not have been suggestive of prayers to them." (81)

Richard Crashaw and William Alabaster's conversions prompted by Southwell, Shell argues

"The function of tears is to act as spectacles to behold Christ, and that of words to refer back to pictures in which Christ may be expounded." (91)
"The effect of Alabaster's conclusion is to deny any inherent difference between word and picture as an appropriate medium for understanding: a more holistic statement than any English Protestant poet could have made in the 1590s." (92)
"Southwell uses the poetry of tears as part of his ministry, writing speeches for biblical figures to achieve an outwardly-directed means of exhortation; but Alabaster, the convert, positions the anonymous repentant self inside the text rather than beyond it." (93)
"There is no contradiction in recognising that Crashaw could assume a Catholic mentality while still a conformist, and it is helpful to approach his poetry in this light." (94)
"This chapter has aimed to argue that there was a fluent indigenous tradition of tears-literature within England after the Reformation, mainly fostered by Catholic and pro-Catholic writers but with substantial outward seepage" (97)

Edward Thimelby; knew Richard Crashaw, imitated but also criticized his work