Shakespeare was bisexual – there were many saucy couplets: ...


Shakespeare was bisexual – there were many saucy couplets: experts

In a dive into his sonnets they also debunk the idea he was captivated by the ‘Fair Youth’ and the ‘Dark Lady’

Dalya Alberge

William Shakespeare was undeniably bisexual, according to new research by leading scholars.

Prof Sir Stanley Wells and Dr Paul Edmondson, of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, claim their new analysis of language used in his sonnets proves some were addressed to women, and others to men. They say their findings, to be published in a new book, should end all speculation over the playwright’s sexuality and whether he had affairs during his 34-year marriage to Anne Hathaway.

The two scholars rearranged the 154 sonnets of the 1609 edition into the order in which they were probably written, interspersing them with those from Shakespeare’s plays, to present him as a writer of 182 sonnets. The new edition concludes that these were not sequences of sonnets, but individual or sometimes interrelated poems written over at least 30 years. It observes that of “some of the most powerfully lyrical, resonant and memorable poems ever written about what it feels like to experience romantic love”, only 27 are addressed to males while just 10 are to females and most are “open in their directions of desire”, including the famous Sonnet 18, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”...

This article is reserved for Times Select subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Times Select content.

Times Select

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email or call 0860 52 52 00.