Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday, and it’s getting to be pretty well accepted that the mysterious man of Avon was actually a Catholic. Joseph Pearce’s book, The Quest for Shakespeare is the best of the books exploring the evidence for Shakespeare’s Catholicism.
It is a web of intriguing evidence from the fact that Shakespeare’s mother came from a famous family of recusant Catholics, his school teachers were Catholics and his father was fined for being a Catholic as was his daughter. Pearce pieces together the rest of the evidence as well in a fascinating study that comes up with the conclusion that if Shakespeare wasn’t a practicing Catholic then, at least his worldview, his values and beliefs were infused with a Catholic vision.
I wrote an article for Pearce’s journal St Austin Review on how Shakespeare’s Catholic vision effected his work and how and why it differs so deeply from the drama produced today for television and the movies. You can read the article here: Shakespeare and the Movies.
The world of Shakespeare/Catholic scholarship is growing, and the plays are being interpreted in the light of Shakespeare’s Catholic faith. Read more.
By the way– if you’re intrigued by conspiracy theories about Shakespeare, what about the spooky detail that some people think proves that he helped write the King James Version of the Bible? Go here to find out more.