"No tombe but throne": Robert Southwell and the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin

Lilla Grindlay


This essay will explore how the Virgin is represented in Southwell’s poetry through an analysis that focuses on his poetic representation of the Virgin’s own triumph over death via her Assumption and Coronation. It will outline the historical and theological context of this most evocative and most contentious aspect of Mariology, and after a brief exploration of one of Southwell’s early works, the Latin “Poema de Assumptione BVM”, will focus on a single poem “The Assumption of our Lady”. Through a contextualised close reading of this work, I aim to reveal not only how Southwell’s devotion to the Virgin formed an integral part of his call to arms against secular love poetry, but also how he used Marian imagery — particularly the image of the Virgin’s Assumption — in both a politicized and polemical way.

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