To lay scholars these poems are quite innocuous, but in her revealing new book, Shakespeare and the Resistance, Clare Asquith blows the lid off of the hidden meanings and messages of these works ... captivating and well-written ... Overall, she does an incredible job of reinterpreting two of William Shakespeare’s more neglected but politically explosive works ... Persuasive and meticulously researched, Shakespeare and the Resistance is a must read for anyone interested in the study and interpretation of Shakespearian era politics or literary criticism.
Clare Asquith’s Shakespeare and the Resistance has the hashtaggier title, but the bolder scholarly content ... she plows ahead, tackling not our own political moment, as Greenblatt does in code, but specifically the Essex Rebellion of 1601 ... On the face of it, Shakespeare and the Resistance is a book about history, not the present ... If Asquith is arguing that a writer is always responding to his or her historical milieu, then the implication follows that she is doing exactly that, too ... it’s hard to see these books as anything but miniature acts of heroism. Tyrant and Shakespeare and the Resistance are trying, at least.
In Shakespeare and the Resistance, Asquith puts the playwright’s two narrative poems under a microscope, drawing hundreds of parallels between Shakespeare’s gorgeous versifying and the power struggles going on at the highest levels of Elizabethan court ... Asquith is better at this kind of speculation than any other Shakespeare scholar, but even so, the counter-narrative frequently creaks under the strain. Some of the book’s claims are eyebrow-raising to say the least ... Readers will be entertained, but they might not be convinced.