Talking Catholic Shakespeare

20 03 2014

Later today, 20 March, Dennis Taylor of Boston College (editor of Shakespeare and the Culture of Christianity in Early Modern England) will be giving a public lecture on ‘Shakespeare and Catholicism’ at Holy Cross College, Worcester. That is Worcester Massachusetts. If t’were Worcester, Worcestershire, I would it t’were done quickly as I could go and hear what he has to say without the need to alight on the other side of a neighbouring pond. But I will not be disappointed, (or unaneled, unhousled etc) because I have received a treasured invite to this year’s Tyburn Lecture on the same subject to be given by the inestimable Clare Asquith on 6 May. The Tyburn Lecture is intended to be given by a Catholic prominent in public life here in the UK and previous speakers have included Chris Patten, Chairman of the BBC Trust, and Cherie Blair, human-rights lawyer, avid ebay practitioner, and wife of some guy from long, long ago. Asquith is billed as ‘the Countess of Oxford who is an independent scholar and author of Shadowplay‘ and it is both fascinating and encouraging that a book published in 2005, nearly ten years ago, is still making waves. It is the ideas in that book that are creating the interest, and so they should. I always considered it a seminal work that would prompt a whole series of more detailed studies and eventually a sea-change in approaches to Shakespeare.

In other news, I have had my paper ‘Secrets of Cymbeline’, on the Catholic subtext of that play, accepted for the British Shakespeare Association conference in July. More anon.