Shakespeare’s Plays Allegedly Penned by a Woman, Claims Bestselling Author Jodi Picoult

US author Jodi Picoult has stirred controversy by suggesting that Shakespeare’s plays were actually written by a woman, Emilia Bassano, rather than the renowned playwright himself. In her latest novel, Picoult points to clues in Romeo and Juliet and Othello to support her theory.

According to Picoult, the character of Juliet being 13 years old aligns with Bassano’s history, as she was forced into a similar situation at a young age. References in Othello also seem to connect to Bassano’s family home in Italy. Picoult further argues that Shakespeare’s lack of education for his daughters contradicts his portrayal of strong, feminist characters in his works.

The debate over Shakespeare’s authorship has long been a topic of discussion, with theories suggesting other potential authors such as Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, or Edward de Vere. Bassano’s name, however, is a recent addition to this list.

Picoult’s novel features dual timelines, one focusing on Bassano secretly working on the plays and sonnets, and another set in modern times where a descendant of Bassano grapples with sexism in the theatre world. The acclaimed author credits her interest in Bassano’s potential authorship to an article by journalist Elizabeth Winkler.

While Picoult acknowledges the controversy surrounding her claims, she stands by her research and sources cited in her novel. She even goes as far as attributing Sonnet 18 to Bassano as a tribute to her deceased daughter. The novel aims to shed light on the possibility of a female author behind Shakespeare’s iconic works.