SHAKESPEARE AND THE RESISTANCE
A BOOK THAT CHALLENGES FIVE CENTURIES OF TUDOR PROPAGANDA WHILE UNLOCKING MOST MYSTERIOUS POEMS IN THE SHAKESPEARE CANON
Author: Clare Asquith Publisher: Public Affairs Price: £22
Read all about it, read all about it: shocking exposé on the Tudor regime and the farreaching effects of Henry VIII’S Act of Supremacy. This book demonstrates the effect of the Act of Supremacy on England’s subjects and how the progeny of Henry VIII continued to exploit its powers for their own gains at the expense of the very people they had pledged to help. Asquith is no Catholic apologist grinding a particular axe but, through rigorous research, shows that Elizabethan England, far from being the ‘sceptred isle’ where all is well, was a police state where to think other than the way of the crown would invite penury or the death sentence. These lines from Richard II would have had Elizabethan audiences nodding in agreement: “the precious stone set in the silver sea… is now bound in with shame, with inky blots and rotten parchment bonds.”
Horror, and protest against the actions of the queen and her privy council, led by the smooth-talking spin-doctor Lord Burghley, could only be expressed in deeply disguised allegory. Poets such as Dryden, Spenser, Donne and Shakespeare were master craftsman of veiled criticism. The Rape Of Lucrece, the impenetrable and today mostly unread narrative poem of Shakespeare, was a Tudor hit, with copies so well-thumbed that they fell apart. Asquith with meticulous historical research lays open its meaning.
It is a shocking read. The misinformation and propaganda of the Tudor regime still holds us in its fist. This book will change that.
“THE PROGENY OF HENRY VIII CONTINUED TO EXPLOIT ITS POWERS FOR THEIR OWN GAINS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE VERY PEOPLE THEY HAD PLEDGED TO HELP”