Original Research - Special Collection: Marianne Dircksen Festschrift

Puzzles and posts: Reconstructing Robert Persons’ correspondence with Claudio Acquaviva, 1589–1592

Victor Houliston
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 53, No 2 | a2488 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v53i2.2488 | © 2019 Victor Houliston | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 May 2019 | Published: 31 October 2019

About the author(s)

Victor Houliston, School of Literature, Language and Media, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


The early English Jesuit leader Robert Persons (1546–1610) was sent to Spain in 1588 by the superior general of the Society, Claudio Acquaviva. His commission was to negotiate with King Philip II over the authority structures of the Jesuits in Spain. Besides conducting these negotiations, Persons founded English seminaries in Valladolid (1589) and Seville (1592). This article examines the extant correspondence between Persons and Acquaviva during this period, reconstructing the missing letters as far as possible. In the process, we learn a great deal about the correspondence network, the use of posts, the dating and confidentiality of letters, and the choice of language.


Correpondence networks; Codes and confidentiality; Linguistic diversity; Robert Persons; Claudio Acquaviva.


Total abstract views: 885
Total article views: 1483

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.