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Collected Poems of Robert Southwell

ISBN: 9781857548983
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This book is a complete edition of the authentic poems, English and Latin, of the Elizabethan priest, poet and martyr S. Robert Southwell, offering new texts based on the very manuscripts which were circulated in secret among English Catholics in the years after the poet's death. This edition, by drawing its texts directly from a complete re-examination of these contemporary manuscripts, makes these poems more than items of literature; it allows them to regain some of their original purpose of communicating forbidden theologies and doctrines amongst a criminalised and near-silenced readership of secret, persecuted groups. These are the poems of those Catholics who did not or could not flee the country as the Elizabethan State bore down upon their faith in the last two decades of the sixteenth century. Southwell's new visions and visualisations in English bear their fruit a generation later in the works of Donne and Herbert. His rare Latin verses (here widely available for the first time, accompanied by a new translation) show also that that the Augustans, even Milton, owe him a creative debt.