The Campion Lecture 2022 - St Robert Southwell and His Readers

Professor Peter Davidson, Senior Research Fellow in Renaissance and Baroque Studies at Campion Hall, will be delivering the first Campion Lecture of the 2021-22 academic year, entitled: “St Robert Southwell and His Readers.”

The Jesuit priest, poet, and martyr, St Robert Southwell (1561–1595) was one of the most innovative and accomplished poets of the sixteenth century. In the years after his death, his devotional poetry circulated in secret amongst the Recusant Catholic Community and became one of the best selling printed books in England. Yet Southwell has to some degree, to this day, been written out of the history of English Literature, and he is still conspicuous by his absence.

In this online lecture, Professor Peter Davidson makes an attempt to solve this puzzle through examining Southwell’s cross-confessional readership in the years after his death and his profound influence on subsequent devotional writers such as Donne and Herbert.