Welcome to Episode #22 of That Shakespeare Life, the podcast that takes you behind the curtain and into the life of William Shakespeare.

I believe that if you want to understand Shakespeare’s plays, then understanding the life of William Shakespeare, the man, is essential. This podcast is designed to help you explore early modern England as Shakespeare would have lived it by interviewing the historians, performers, authors, and experts that know him best.

Many British historians will recognize the Essex Rebellion as a famous event, but less well known is the almost pivotal role in that uprising that was played by William Shakespeare. Robert Devereux was the 2nd Earl of Essex and was, in addition to being the Queen’s favorite, also one of Shakespeare’s most notable patrons. After a ghastly display of disrespect to the Queen in public, along with many grievances Essex felt towards Elizabeth I, he found himself appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland which marked the beginning of what would become the famous Essex Rebellion of 1601. As a patron of Shakespeare and a friend of Shakespeare’s other famous patron, Henry Wriothesly, The Earl of Southampton, Essex used the theater and Shakespeare in particular as a weapon in his quest against the government. To help us explore what life was like for William Shakespeare during this time, as well as how the bard managed to escape his own execution for his involvement in the rebellion, our guest today is Clare Asquith, author of Shakespeare and the Resistance.  Clare joins us this week to explore the involvement of William Shakespeare and his theater performances in the Essex Rebellion. 

Join the conversation below.

Itunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | GooglePlay | iHeartRadio

<iframe style="border: none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/7049850/height/90/theme/custom/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/cc0014/" height="90" width="100%" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

Lady Clare Asquith is the author of Shakespeare and the Resistance, which is her latest book that came out in August of this year. Her book explores the life of Robert Devereux and his journey from the Queen’s favorite to executed traitor. She joins us today to be our guide as we look at the Essex Rebellion and its’ role in the life of William Shakespeare.

In this episode, I’ll be asking Clare about :

  • How was Devereaux able to afford to be a patron of Shakespeare’s theater during this time?
  • How was it possible for Shakespeare to avoid prosecution?
  • Was Shakespeare’s reputation at stake for being connected with Essex?
  • …and more!

Books Clare Recommends:

Shakespeare and the Resistance by Clare Asquith (Excellent Handbook guide to Shakespeare’s Rape of Lucrece)
Paul Hammer The Polarization of Elizabethan Politics
Alex Gajda The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Culture
Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, 8 Volume Set by Geoffrey Bullough


Click to Tweet

To share That Shakespeare Life on Twitter quickly and easily, just click the box below. Your tweet will automatically be populated with this copy:

Comment and Share

Please consider rating the podcast with 5 stars and leaving a one- or two-sentence review in iTunes or on Stitcher.  Rating the podcast helps tremendously with bringing the podcast to the attention of others.

We encourage you to join the That Shakespeare Girl community on Facebook. It’s a community of professional Shakespeareans and Shakespeare enthusiasts, as well as fans of That Shakespeare Life.

You can tell your friends on Twitter about your love of Shakespeare and our new podcast by simply clicking this link and sharing the tweet you’ll find at the other end.

And, by all means, if you know someone you think would love to learn about the life of William Shakespeare, please spread the word by using the share buttons on this page.

And remember: In order to really know William Shakespeare, you have to go behind the curtain, and into That Shakespeare Life. 

.     .     .

Would you like to have a link to each week’s episode emailed to you directly? Subscribe to That Shakespeare Girl Newsletter and get notifications about every episode sent right to your inbox along with all the other Shakespeare goodness each Monday. I’ll send you a free hand-illustrated map of Shakespeare’s Place in History to welcome you.