The Two Walter Raleighs

Famous Father, Rebellious Son and a Shared Tragedy

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About the Book

Sir Walter Raleigh’s biographers have given little attention to his tragic relationship with his son Wat (Walter). They began in proud identification, each seeing himself in the other. But after the father’s political downfall and imprisonment for treason, he lost his authority in the family, and the son began to reject paternal advice and his studies and to engage in violent quarrels and duels. Often the father used his influence to rescue his son from his rash acts.
Things came to a head after Wat was sued by a young woman for violent assault, and imprisoned. The aged Raleigh had been freed from the Tower to lead an expedition to Guiana, and—as recently discovered documents reveal—he delivered his son from the law by commissioning him as a captain on his flagship, ominously named the Destiny. In a shared tragedy, Wat was killed in a skirmish, and the grieving Raleigh returned to England, broken in spirit and ready for the execution that awaited him.

About the Author(s)

Fred B. Tromly is a professor emeritus of English at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. His previous books and articles include scholarly studies of Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Raleigh.

Bibliographic Details

Fred B. Tromly
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 230
Bibliographic Info: 10 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7240-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3346-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 5
One • What’s in a Son’s Name? 9
Two • The Son of His Father—and His Mother 21
Three • Wat as Second Self 37
Four • Imagining a Son on the Gallows 52
Five • Disinheritance and Corruption of Blood 61
Six • A Paterfamilias Undone 71
Seven • Instructing and Neglecting a Son 88
Eight • Escape to Oxford 102
Nine • Continental Drifting with Ben Jonson 116
Ten • A Son in Arms 132
Eleven • From Thomasine to Guiana 148
Twelve • Destiny 163
Conclusion: Last Words and Silences 178
Chapter Notes 193
Bibliography 209
Index 217