Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Linda Bensel-Meyers, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Alexandra Olsen, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Eleanor McNees

Fourth Advisor

Clark Davis

Fifth Advisor

M. E. Warlick


Edmund Campion, English Jesuits, Reformation, Renaissance poetics, Robert Southwell, William Byrd


This study explores the English Catholic artistic response to reforms--reforms being both internal and external to the Catholic Church--as part of the Catholic Reformation. "Response," for the purposes of this project, may be defined in terms of an "answer" in an ongoing dialogue about the Catholic position and may be seen as both conciliatory and apologetic in nature. Understanding this response is useful when we consider the role of rhetoric and poetry in society and the attendant contemporary theories thereof, in their historical context, especially the duty of the poet. The recent "revisionist" history is central to understanding art contextually. While identifying the key doctrinal debates between Catholics and Protestants, this study traces these elements in the English Catholic art of Edmund Campion, Robert Southwell, and William Byrd and focuses, especially, on the way art attempts to reconcile man's human and divine natures, or Eros and Agape. This can enrich our understanding of the degree to which the spiritual may be found in the temporal to represent how important the concept of the soul and its believed afterlife was to Renaissance artists and their audiences particularly during a time of sustained religious unrest, censorship, and persecution. From the Catholic perspective, a significant recurring trope is the Blessed Sacrament in the then-forbidden rite of the Catholic Mass and its meritorious powers: to impart grace--even when simply gazed upon; to unify members of the Church as Christ's Earthly Body and Bride; to nourish the soul; and, ultimately, to secure the salvation necessary for eternal life. As rhetoric, poetry, and drama are the fruits of education central to the Ignatian charism of "helping souls," the Jesuit influence on Byrd and other lay figures among the Catholic recusant community such as Sir Thomas Tresham and Sir John Harington may be detected in music, buildings, and verse. This project endeavors to broaden the critical base for additional studies concerned with reforms in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England to enrich our understanding of artistic work in this period, most pointedly in terms of reconciling Eros and Agape.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Nicole M. Coonradt


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

218 p.


Literature, Religion