She believes there is plenty of evidence

Ya uh huh.

Shakespeare’s plays were written by a woman and the clues are there in Romeo and Juliet and Othello, according to US author Jodi Picoult.

She believes there is plenty of evidence that Shakespeare did not write the works – most damningly, she says, a man who did not secure education for his daughters could not possibly have written “proto-feminist” characters.

Secure education for his daughters how? Send them to Oxford?

Moreover, Picoult says Shakespeare’s contemporaries knew that he was not the real author.

On the contrary, they knew that he was. Ben Jonson had always felt rivalrous toward him, and scornful of his lack of erudition or classical education…until he read the Folio and realized how wrong he’d been.

“I think that, back then, people in theatre knew that William Shakespeare was a catch-all name for a lot of different types of authors. I think they expected it to be a joke that everyone would get. And we’ve all lost the punchline over 400 years,” she told an audience at the Hay Festival as she launched the novel, By Any Other Name.

Huh. Well I think he was really the child of Cleopatra and J. Edgar Hoover, and we’ve all laughed that off over 400 years.

English people are resistant to the theory, she added. “Shakespeare has gone beyond being a playwright – sometimes I think he’s a religion. And if you talk to people who are religious and you push hard enough, eventually the answer is, ‘Because that’s what it is!’ There is this blind faith in Shakespeare.”

There’s a reason for the status of Shakespeare. What is that reason? It’s because he was good at what he did. Really really extraordinarily good. Unusually good. Better than even very clever people routinely are. He was out of the ordinary that way. People noticed. It’s not blind faith; the evidence is right there for anyone to see.

“When he died, he was not buried in Westminster Abbey, although a lot of playwrights you don’t even know were buried in Westminster Abbey. And when he died, no other playwrights of the time seemed to mourn him publicly or talk about his legacy.

Wrong. As I said: Ben Jonson.

Also, we wouldn’t know about the mourning or the talk, because it wasn’t recorded. Very few things were recorded. It’s not clever sleuthing to decide that people weren’t saying X when we have so few records of people saying anything. There were no obits in the Times or the Guardian, no discussions on the BBC, no 500 page biographies in every Waterstones, but that doesn’t mean nobody talked about his legacy. They just didn’t tell us about it, because they didn’t have the technology or the habits that go with the technology.

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