The Liberal Republicanism of John Taylor of Caroline
Garrett Ward Sheldon and C. William Hill, Jr.

About the Authors:
Garrett Ward Sheldon is The John Morton Beaty Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He received a PhD from Rutgers University and has studied at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford; The New School for Social Research; and Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Sheldon has written several books on early American political though, including The Political Philosophy of Thomas Jefferson and The Political Philosophy of James Madison. In 1992, he received the Outstanding Faculty in Virginia Award.

Dr. Charles William Hill, Jr. is The Henry H. and Trudye Fowler Professor of Public Affairs at Roanoke College. He is a graduate of Shepherd University and received the MA and PhD from The American University. He has written a previous book, The Political Theory of John Taylor of Caroline, also published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. His chief research interests are the theory and practice of federalism and Native American tribal sovereignty.




The name of Jesuit Robert Southwell has now and then been linked with Shakespeare’s, but vaguely and tentatively. The name of Henry Wriothesly, third earl of Southampton has perennially been linked with Shakespeare’s, sometimes not vaguely and tentatively enough. This book offers distinct and credible reasons for believing in a relationship among the three men, who were “kinsmen” as their contemporaries understood the term. Klause uncovers signs of a secret but continued “conversation” among them about the religious politics of their time, reading the evidence for it, with plausible speculation, out of the literary and biographical remains of the conversant, and founding his argument securely on the discovery that Shakespeare’s writing is influenced in a major way by Southwell’s. The Jesuit’s influence is pervasive, but most especially when the poet/playwright takes up in his own work issues of special concern to the earl in a crucial debate (1593-1604), after Southwell’s death, through the religious and political crises faced by the young nobleman during that time.

The book raises and answers questions that are sometimes fiercely contested in current debates about Shakespeare’s religious allegiances, charting a reasonable course between extreme denial (“An Olympian Shakespeare had no interest at all in the religious conflicts of his day”) and extreme affirmation (“A canny and elusive Shakespeare hid his strongly held and well defined sectarian beliefs from a persecuting establishment that would have crushed conspicuous dissent”). Instead of focusing, as some scholars have recently done, on what Shakespeare might have thought about religion as a young man in Catholic Lancashire, Klause finds him engaged by religious issues late into his career in London, a perilous but not wholly inhospitable place for those who were, like Southwell, certain of their faith, and those like Southampton and Shakespeare, who were not. Among different versions of Elizabethan and Jacobean Catholicism, it was, the author argues, Southwell’s that preoccupied Shakespeare, as the Jesuit’s works became available to him through the Catholic underground. That preoccupation was informed and complex, the author finds, sympathetic yet full of challenge and resistance—like the attitude of Shakespeare’s patron, Southampton. That Shakespeare had access to Southwell’s writing, perhaps through their kinsman Southampton, and that he recalled it in astonishing fullness over many years, relying on it as he fashioned his poems and plays, suggests that he was directly in touch with, concerned to keep, preserve, and offer for interpretation, contemporary sources of subversive political and religious ideology in his own land.

ISBN 978-0-8386-4136-1

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