“Anonymous” the Movie to Focus on the End Game of Elizabethan Politics, the Essex Rebellion and the Succession to Queen Elizabeth

Well, it’s good to see the trailer for Anonymous, due in September from Roland Emmerich, about Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford as Shakespeare; and in the view from this corner, it’s great to see that the film will apparently focus on the “end game” of political power struggles leading to the Essex Rebellion in February of 1601, the imprisonment of co-leaders Essex and Southampton, the execution of Essex and the succession to Elizabeth in March of 1603.

These, after all, were not only the Earl of Oxford’s concerns but those dramatized by “Shakespeare” in his plays of English royal history, which mirrored contemporary issues and helped to prepare citizens for the inevitable changes that would follow the Queen’s death.  Such is the concern of the Sonnets, as expressed in The Monument, which sets forth the political “story” recorded by Oxford using the language and form of the poetry of love.

Because of a single movie, this generation of students will be the first to learn there’s even a question about the authorship of the Shakespeare works – a fact which, I’d say, boggles the mind.

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great trailer.

    Action, politics, blood, envy, power, and literature.
    Who can ask for more…? Well, yes, we need to know
    if there are good dialogues: if the script is good.
    The start by Jacobi in the theater promises great words at least.

    • Action, politics, blood, etc. — sounds like a Shakesepeare play! Meanwhile the great words will probably not be found in great bulk on the screen … but the play’s the thing, and they are there.

  2. I did not know this movie had been lensed until I saw an early trailer at the flicks last week. Almost jumped from my chair with excitement! At last, a popular crowd-pleasing medium takes on the challenge. The Stratfordians must be apoplectic!

    • Well, there will be a transition from ridicule to fierce objection, but that is the natural process before collapse of an old paradigm. Many who may be shocked and upset will be among the first to embrace the new one — the way Howard Cosell used to predict football plays incorrectly and then simply go with the flow without ever skipping a beat…. Thanks for the note – Hank

  3. I may teach at a small school in Oregon, but my Seniors learn about this ‘Shakespeare Controversy’, because I make it my business to TEACH THEM.

    So please, some of this “generation of students” do learn and discuss and argue the merits of this intriguing subject, just as the last generation has done before them, and such from the college class that inspired me (and others) to teach such.

    All is not STUPID out here in education land!

    • Thanks for the reminder that of course there’s enlightenment out there and has been for some time — not enough, unfortunately, but it’s there and I apologize for the sweeping statements overlooking it. Your seniors are lucky and you were, too. I was never told about it, even while in the theater department at Notre Dame and taking Great Books — but we produced Hamlet and I did experience some kind of intuitive knowledge that the prince was more than a character cut from whole cloth. He was, and still is, real to me. Again, much appreciated. (Are you near Concordia University in Portland, where we have annual conferences?) Best from Hank

  4. A list of Joe Sobran’s essays on the Shakespeare authorship question may be found here:


    —Ronald Neff

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