Joseph Pearce on Shakespeare the Catholic

Joseph Pearce on Shakespeare the Catholic

I’ve had Joseph Pearce’s new Shakespeare book on my wishlist since before its release—boy was I excited when I heard it was coming out!—but as I rarely buy new books, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Reader Elizabeth M. passes on a link to an interview that re-whets my appetite and makes me want to push it to the top of the list. I’ve received a nice Amazon gift certificate for my birthday this week (Thanks, Mum B.!!!!!) and can go on a nice little spending spree. (Though it’s always so hard to pick which books to buy now.)

“Joseph Pearce on Shakespeare the Catholic”:

Actually, I began as a skeptic who believed that there was insufficient evidence to show that Shakespeare was a Catholic. I felt that those who claimed that he was a believing Catholic were guilty of mere wishful thinking.

There came a point, however, at which one piece of evidence after another made me reconsider my skeptical stance. It�s like missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

There comes a time when you have enough pieces to recognize the whole picture, even though some of the pieces are still missing. At this point, I became sufficiently intrigued by the whole question to embark on a period of intense research on the subject. My book is the fruit of that research.

Like Pearce, the first few times I heard the theory advance that Shakespeare was a Catholic, I dismissed it as yet another example of a special interest group trying to claim as one of their own the greatest writer in the English language. I don’t really like that kind of historical appropriation, even when it’s my own special interest group doing the appropriating. But the more I read the case for Shakespeare’s Catholicism, the more persuasive I find it. I look forward to seeing what Pearce has to add to the conversation.

More info on Pearce and the book at Ignatius Insight.

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  • What a precious story and a wonderful Mommy’s perspective!    I’m laughing because before we did our addition, our laundry was in a similarly unexplored location and your description brought back so many memories of rushing the children away from dangerous or disgusting things.    Under our addition, we dug a new basement which we finished off.  Now when we descend our (since carpeted) basement steps we usually turn left into into a bright, sunny, and dry playroom.  The old, scary, dank side of the basement remains hidden away behind a locked door on the right and is opened only on those occasions when we might need a power tool or to clean a paintbrush or maybe even to look through some broken furniture or fixtures.  In our house, that closed off, perfectly preserved dungeon will forever be referred to as “Daddy’s side of the basement.” 

  • I understand your situation completely, Melanie, and see that it’s not an ideal place, but I plead on behalf of Bella for memories such as these. Your description reminds me of my grandparents’ basement from childhood. I adored them and their tiny house back in Canada. To this day, whenever I smell that dank, distinct odour, I am awash in their wonderful love. They say that the nose has the sharpest and longest memory of all the senses. That basement as well as the smell of musty books (different house later) both captivate me because of associations with people who meant the world to me. Keep Bella safe, but I predict that this will be a firm portion of her childhood memories.

  • I lived in several houses with laundry rooms like this, all in Ohio, where (thankfully) there are no huge roaches to scuttle across the floor.  I found that letting the cat have free range in the basement kept a lot of scary things at bay.  (I’ve never lived in a house with a basement since having children, so I’ve never had to deal with kids coming down the rickety stairs that this kind of basement always has.)

  • Genevieve, What lovely memories! It is amazing how certain smells can have such a strong associative power. I know Dom makes a point of letting Bella smell all the various herbs and spices when he’s cooking. He frequently fills the house with the smell of baking bread and boiling stock. All these smells will hopefully stay with Bella for a lifetime, though you can never predict which ones will exert the most influence.

  • We never had a basement or an attic when I was growing up in Texas I recall reading about them and they always seemed almost magical places.

  • Re: puddle

    Maybe you need puddle towels (real towels, I mean) to soak up the puddle, and then maybe somewhere to hang and dry them. Sorta like having a dog towel by the back door, to dry off the dog after she goes out in the rain or snow.

    I just don’t like the idea of you having a puddle down there. Seems like a breeding ground for bad things and accidents.