Was Shakespeare a Jewish Woman?

There are many theories about the true identity of Shakespeare. A new one (at least, new to me) is that Shakespeare was actually a Jewish woman named Amelia Bassano Lanier. This argument is made by John Hudson, author of a forthcoming biography of Bassano (who was the first woman to publish a book of poetry in England). Haaretz reports:

The theory rests largely on the circumstances of Bassano's life, which Hudson contends match, much better than William Shakespeare's did, the content of "Shakespeare's" work. But Hudson has also identified technical similarities between the language used in Bassano's known poetry and that used in "Shakespeare's" verse. And he has located clues in the text - recently noted Jewish allegories and the statistically significant appearance of Amelia Bassano Lanier's various names in the plays - that he says point to her as the only convincing candidate for the author of Shakespeare's work.

Hudson offers a summary of his theory in an article he posted on Jewcy.com, "Shakespeare's Plays Were Written By A Jewish Woman." Hudson also maintains a site, darkladyplayers.com, where he goes into more details about his theory.

If it turned out that Shakespeare really was a woman, that would top Pope Joan for Most Outrageous Case of Gender Concealment Ever. However, I'm sure that mainstream Shakespeare historians are going to resist accepting Hudson's theory.


Posted on Wed May 28, 2008


I Shakespeare was Jewish, would he/she have written a play named HAMlet?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu May 29, 2008  at  01:54 AM
Why can't people just be happy with the 'theory' that Shakespeare was this bloke from Stratford-Upon-Avon that was a pretty damn good writer? Why do new theories on who Will Shakespeare was keep popping up? There's pictures of him, there's written records of his accepting money for plays, I've seen his grave! There's no mystery there!
Posted by Nona  on  Thu May 29, 2008  at  05:23 AM
Game Show Host: Good evening and welcome to "Stake Your Claim". First this evening we have Mr Norman Voles of Gravesend who claims he wrote all Shakespeare's works. Mr Voles, I understand you claim that you wrote all those plays normally attributed to Shakespeare?

Mr. Voles: That is correct. I wrote all his plays and my wife and I wrote his sonnets.

Game Show Host: Mr Voles, these plays are known to have been performed in the early 17th century. How old are you, Mr Voles?

Mr. Voles: 43.

Game Show Host: Well, how is it possible for you to have written plays performed over 300 years before you were born?

Mr. Voles: Ah well. This is where my claim falls to the ground. There's no possible way of answering that argument, I'm afraid. I was only hoping you would not make that particular point, but I can see you're more than a match for

Game Show Host: Mr Voles, thank you very much for coming along.

Mr. Voles: My pleasure.
Posted by David B.  on  Thu May 29, 2008  at  08:29 AM
If Shakespeare was really Jewish, I doubt he (or she, I guess...?) would have written plays like "The Merchant of Venice". That piece is crazy anti-semitic.
Posted by Dily  on  Thu May 29, 2008  at  08:45 AM
CMG's take on the subject is spot on.

What came to mind for me is "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet".
Posted by KDP  on  Thu May 29, 2008  at  08:55 AM
Actually, I wrote Shakespeare's works. I just finished them last week, and went back in time yesterday to deliver them to the Bard.

You're welcome.
Posted by Dr. Emmett L. Brown  on  Thu May 29, 2008  at  10:50 PM
*punches Dr Brown in the nose*

So there.
Posted by Charybdis  on  Fri May 30, 2008  at  10:10 AM
"Actually, I wrote Shakespeare's works. I just finished them last week, and went back in time yesterday to deliver them to the Bard."

Wasn't that an Alan Moore story in 2000AD?

A historian goes back to prove Shakespeare really did write his plays, only to find Shakespeare is totally illiterate. So he writes out the plays from memory, signs them in Shakespeare's name and returns to the present only to realise that this means that (a) he wrote Shakespeare's plays, and (b) since he did so from memory having read the complete works passed down to us from history, in fact no-one wrote Shakespeare's plays!
Posted by David B.  on  Fri May 30, 2008  at  01:11 PM
yes, and Barbra Streisand is a Fat Greek Uncle... dar
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat May 31, 2008  at  06:06 PM
The theory about Amelia (or Emilia) Lanier was current when I was studying Shakespeare back in 1963/4. So I wouldn't expect any academics to get excited about it in 2008.
Posted by Gill D  on  Wed Jun 04, 2008  at  08:52 AM
Hudson isn't saying Shakespeare the person was a Jewish woman, he's saying she wrote the plays and he fronted for her. Yes, and not a single person in all of London noticed something fishy about this guy for over two decades? Nobody noticed he didn't really know the plays he pretended to have written? Nonsense.

Posted by Winterbourne  on  Sun Jun 27, 2010  at  05:19 AM
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