Shakespeare studies

The clue to Shakespeare’s sexuality lies in the sonnets

The question ‘Was Shakespeare gay?’ is not very rational. It might be a little like asking ‘Was Shakespeare a Tory?’. Some of his scenarios might coincide with later developments – Jaques trying to pick up Ganymede in As You Like It (gay), or Ulysses’s speech on degree in Troilus and Cressida (Tory). But the historical conditions are not there. No doubt there have been people keen on same-sex relations since the dawn of time. But the possibilities of a social identity embedded in the word ‘gay’ didn’t exist in the 16th century, nor the medical diagnosis from which the word ‘homosexual’ arose. Nor will ‘sodomite’ do. That describes some very

Shakespeare sceptics are the new literary heroes

Let’s start with the basics. Despite widespread disinformation, including in Shakespeare was a Woman and Other Heresies, there is in fact ample historical evidence from the period that a) attributes the plays and poems to William Shakespeare, b) registers the same William Shakespeare as an actor and shareholder in Lord Chamberlain’s, later King’s Men, and c) connects this William Shakespeare with the William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon. Only if you believe that all this evidence is fabricated does the authorship question become a question. And once the question is admissible, all that mass of documentation is no longer sufficient to answer it. Anti-Stratfordians operate almost entirely outside the academy of professional