The ‘performing Word’: Southwell's sacralised poetic

Anne Sweeney

in Robert Southwell

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780719074189
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701195 | DOI:
The ‘performing Word’: Southwell's sacralised poetic

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter discusses Southwell's final works, and his contributions to England and English poetry. Some of these were the visions of the Counter-Reformation and the sacralisation of individual vision and creativity. The chapter then introduces a new concept of grace and the ‘Performing Deed’, which is an act that expresses a giving up of self in response to downward-moving grace. It also discusses Southwell's poetic vision and his status as an authority of priest and martyr, concluding with a study of his first and last public sermon, which was delivered shortly before his execution at Tyburn.

Keywords: final works; contributions; English poetry; Counter-Reformation; individual vision; sacralisation; grace; Performing Deed; poetic vision; public sermon

Chapter.  20194 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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