Shakespeare's Dark Lady: Amelia Bassano Lanier the woman behind Shakespeare's plays?

Shakespeare's Dark Lady: Amelia Bassano Lanier the woman behind Shakespeare's plays?

by John Hudson


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Amelia Bassano was born in 1569 into a family of Venetian Jews who were court musicians to Queen Elizabeth I. At about the age of thirteen, she became mistress to the fiftysix-year-old Lord Hunsdon, Henry VIII’s reputed son by Mary Boleyn. As Lord Chamberlain, Hunsdon was in charge of the English theatre and would become the patron of the company that performed the Shakespearean plays. Amelia lived with him for a decade, during which time she also had an affair with the playwright Christopher Marlowe. When she became pregnant, Amelia was exiled from court and next surfaces as the mysterious ‘dark lady’ in Shakespeare’s sonnets. At the age of forty-two, she became the first woman to publish a book of original poetry, employing linguistic features resembling the later Shakespearean plays. Amelia died in poverty in 1645.Drawing upon a wealth of documentary evidence, this controversial and provocative book unites Tudor history, feminism, and Shakespeare scholarship to demonstrate that Amelia Bassano was in all the right places and had all the right knowledge, skills, and contacts to have produced the Shakespearean canon.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781445655246
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
Publication date: 04/13/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 539,251
Product dimensions: 4.88(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

John Hudson is a Shakespeare director. He received a First from the University of Exeter and a graduate degree with merit in Shakespeare and Theatre from the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham. He teaches advanced and experimental Shakespeare to actors at H. B. Studios, and directs one of the world's most innovative Shakespeare companies, the Dark Lady Players, in New York City.

Table of Contents

Foreword Michael Posner 9

Introduction 11

1 Elizabethan London: City, Court and Theatre 23

2 Shakespeare's Remarkable Mind: A Shopping List 39

3 The Man from Stratford: A Bad Buy 75

4 Some Rotten Alternatives 106

5 Amelia's Early Life: 1569-1582 123

6 Amelia at Court: 1582-1593 141

7 Amelia, a Poet in Exile: 1594-1610 167

8 A Poet in Her Own Right: 1611-1617 200

9 The Final Years, School Teacher, Litigant and More: 1617-1645 225

10 Conclusion 233

Appendices 244

Notes 262

Bibliography 265

Acknowledgements 281

List of Illustrations 283

Index 285

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