Shakespeare’s Passionate Cousin

March 11, 2024


Duncan McGibbon gives an account of Robert Southwell (1561-1595), a best-selling poet, Jesuit missionary and cousin of William Shakespeare. Southwell ended his life as a martyr, but what was the influence of Southwell on Shakespeare? Southwell approved the language of passion, in his case the passion of those alienated from God, and in Shakespeare’s case the passion of those struggling with human love. In Venus and Adonis and plays such as Romeo and Juliet and King Lear the language of passion appears unique yet can be sourced in Southwell. This talk brings evidence both in terms of diction and documents, in a talk not to be missed.

Duncan McGibbon attended St Mary’s University, Strawberry Hill and King’s College London. He was a member of the Poet’s Workshop which ran through the 1960s to the 1990s, where his mentors were among others, Philip Hobsbaum, George MacBeth, Leonard Clark, Peter Porter and Alan Brownjohn.

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