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Home > India > News > PTI > Report

Shakespeare was a woman, claims expert

May 28, 2008 15:45 IST
Last Updated: May 28, 2008 15:46 IST

Shakespeare was actually a Jewish woman who had disguised to get her work published in Elizabethan London [Images], where original literature from women was not acceptable, an expert has contended.

The woman, Amelia Bassano Lanier Bassano, was of Italian descent and lived in England [Images]. She has been known only as the first woman to publish a book of poetry (Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum in 1611) and as a candidate for 'the dark lady' referred to in the sonnets, daily Ha'aretz reported.

The theory rests largely on the circumstances of Bassano's life, which John Hudson, an expert in Shakespeare, contend matches much better to the content of Shakespeare's work.

The researcher has also identified technical similarities between the language used in Bassano's known poetry and that used in Shakespeare's verse.

When asked if this is the biggest literary hoax ever pulled off or the worst example of a man stealing a woman's glory, the researcher dubbed it a stratagem.

"I don't think this is a hoax. It is a stratagem she used to get her work published, as many other women have done, by having their work published under a man's name. In Elizabethan London, women could not write original literature at all, let alone plays, so this was her only option," Hudson said in an interview published in Ha'aretz.

"The example I use is that of the Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria. In order that his name might be known, the architect Sostratus had his name carved on the stone base, then covered over with a piece of plaster with a dedication to the king. In time the plaster fell away, revealing the architect's name," Hudson said.

"Amelia's strategy was to leave behind a preposterous case for William Shakespeare, which has now fallen away, revealing the true creator who is now at last visible," the scientist added.

He is so convinced of Bassano's authorship that he has formed a theater company, The Dark Lady Players, to bring out, through performance, the true meanings of the plays as, he argues, Bassano intended them.

Hudson holds numerous degrees from various prestigious academic institutions, in a range of specialties from Shakespeare and dramaturgical theory to sociology and anthropology.

He has spent most of his career as a cognitive scientist, restructuring the communications industry and inventing new industry models, exactly what he is now doing with Shakespeare.

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