Amelia Bassano Lanier: the Dark Lady
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Amelia Bassano Lanier: the Dark Lady



Amelia Bassano Lanier is the latest candidate for the authorship of Shakespeare's plays. Visit

Amelia Bassano Lanier is the latest candidate for the authorship of Shakespeare's plays. Visit



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    Amelia Bassano Lanier: the Dark Lady Amelia Bassano Lanier: the Dark Lady Presentation Transcript

    • SHAKESPEARE : Rethinking Jewish History
      • “ this research represents a legitimate new area
      • of scholarship ” (Dr. Catherine Alexander, Editor,
      • The Cambridge Shakespeare Library ).
      • “ the case for Amelia Bassano Lanier is as plausible as
      • Shakespeare’s ” ( The Queen’s Quarterly )
      • “ marvelous and revolutionary ” (Vicky McMahon,
      • theater department, University of Winnipeg)
      • [email_address]
    • Presentation
      • A.The Shakespearean Authorship Issue
        • Why Mr. Shakespeare doesn’t fit
        • Changes made in 1622 to Othello
        • Key Abilities needed
        • Fit with the Sonnets, biographical details
      • B.Biographical evidence for New Candidate
      • C.Literary evidence for New Candidate
        • Swan signatures
        • Literary similarities
        • Jewish religious allegory in the plays
        • D. Implications for Jewish History
    • A. The Shakespearean Authorship Issue The hunt for the author has turned up 68 candidates, none of them plausible….and none of them explain what the plays mean or why they were written
    • The World’s Most Complex Literary Works
      • Written and revised over many years not weeks
      • 3,000 Biblical references in 14 translations
      • more musical references than any other writer
      • Hundreds of military, legal,classical references
      • Uses hundreds of literary sources
      • Knowledge both of the court and of commoners
      • Uses allegory and allusions to convey hidden meanings
      • Created to be performed, and to be read later
    • Sources Read Include
      • IN HEBREW
      • Book of Genesis
      • The Talmud
      • Maimonides Guide of The Perplexed
      • The Zohar
      • Manuscript of De Sommi’s The Betrothed
      • Azirah de Rossi
      • IN ITALIAN
      • Dante
      • Tasso, Aminta & Jerusalem
      • Manuscript of Scala’s Flavio Tradito
      • Bandello,Novella
      • Di Sommi, Quattro Dialoghi
      • Gl’Ingannati
      • Il Cesare
      • Il Pecorone
      • Il Novellino
      • Cinthio, Epitia & Hecatommithi
      • Italian 1530 translation of Plautus Mostellaria
    • Ben Jonson’s Evidence
      • Jonson was the only person who claimed to personally know the author of the plays
      • In his private diary ‘Timber’ he says he told the other actors that Mr. Shakespeare was to be “most faulted” for he never “blotted line” which the actors thought a “malevolent” speech.
      • And parodies him as Sogliardo, a ‘gull’
    • The leading alternative, Earl of Oxford, died in 1604
      • Yet Macbeth mentions the 1605 Gunpowder plot
      • Coriolanus mentions Harvey’s 1616 circulation of the blood discovery
      • How could Oxford have collaborated with Fletcher who began work in 1607?
      • Or made the changes to Othello in 1622?
      • He was not a major poet and his bio doesn’t fit the Sonnets
    • The true author mocked William as an uneducated fool
      • In As You Like It Act V, Scene 1 Touchstone teaches William rhetoric, and in Merry Wives Of Windsor Act IV, Scene 1 William learns Latin grammar
      • In addition AYLI identifies him with Ben Jonson’s hostile caricature of William Shakespeare as the country bumpkin Sogliardo
    • The Actor from Stratford
      • A multi-millionaire in today’s terms his biography does not match what we know from the plays and Sonnets
      • No way for him to develop the knowledge and abilities shown in the plays
      • He was a play broker for the true author who must fit four criteria :
        • biographic fit with the Sonnets
        • alive in 1622/3
        • +20 unusual abilities
        • must be a major poet with theatrical connections and a gap in their work
    • (1.)Need to be alive in 1622
      • Scholars agree the 1623 Folio was edited by Ben Jonson
      • Revisions were made to certain plays especially Othello 1622-1623, and to Measure for Measure referring to a 1621 newspaper article
      • So the author needed to have been alive to make those revisions
      • Shakespeare died in 1616
    • (2.)Need these Abilities AND be a major poet
      • Experience of hunting
      • but disliked it
      • Knowledge of the Court
      • Knew Earl of Southampton
      • Military knowledge
      • Rare plants
      • Legal knowledge
      • Northern dialect
      • Denmark
      • Astronomy
      • Falconry
      • Silkweaving
      • More musical than any
      • other playwright
      • Fluent Italian
      • Some spoken Hebrew
      • knowledge of girls’
      • literature
      • Feminism
      • Judaism
      • Theater knowledge/contacts
      • Biblical knowledge
      • Interest in Venice and Moors
      • Ties to Ben Jonson
    • (3.)Need a 20 year ‘gap’ when the plays were written No works known Triumph of Death, Astrea AngelSpirit Even Now Psalms Antoinus (trans), Discourse Mary Sidney Treatises Caelia, poems Life of Sidney Mustapha Alaham Editor of Arcadia The Letter Fulkes Greville New Atlantis (1623) On Wisdom Proficiency Learning, Pacification & Nature, Essays Meditations Elements of Law FrancisBacon Salve Deus Willobie? Pub.1594 Amelia Lanier Tragi-Comedies Tragedy Italian Comedy Court/ Histories Shake-speare After 1610 1606-1610 1601- 1605 1596-1600 1590- 1595
    • (4.)Need to fit the Sonnets biographical details
      • The writer of the 1609 Sonnets claimed to be “poor” and “despised” (Sonnet 37), that fortune “did not better for my life provide” (Sonnet 111),
      • “ outcast” and “in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes” (Sonnet 29),and likely to be buried in a common grave
      • The man from Stratford does not fit. He was not despised, nor in disgrace, was the second wealthiest actor in England, and had a private burial plot.
    • No public honour,poor and a common grave (Sonnets, 1609) Common grave None--a pauper Amelia Lanier Private vault Sir, later Earl Richest man in England Greville Westminster Abbey? Earl, pension of 1000 pounds ($1 million+) Oxford Vault, Salisbury Cathedral Countess, owned much of Wiltshire Mary Sidney Vault, St Michaels Sir, later Viscount Income from offices Bacon Private grave Reserved from 1604 Gentleman, 2nd richest Actor (after E. Alleyn) Shakespeare GRAVE HONOUR CANDIDATE
    • B. The Biographical Evidence A New Authorship Candidate: Her Life Story
    • Aemilia Bassano Lanyer (1569-1645)
      • First woman to publish a book of original poetry, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum
      • Already linked to the Sonnets as the ‘Dark Lady’ by A. L. Rowse
      • Perfect match on all key areas of knowledge in the plays
      • Suddenly appears as a major poet in 1611
    • Biographical Fit to areas of Shakespearean Knowledge
      • 1569-76, The Bassanos
        • Music,
        • Italy, Venice,Italian
        • Hebrew, Judaism
        • Silkweaving,
      • 1576-82, The Willoughbies
        • Bible translation
        • Denmark, astronomy
        • Feminism
        • Sonnet writing
        • Military knowledge
        • Knowledge of Navarre
      • 1582-1592, Lord Hunsdon
        • the Court,
        • the Theater
        • Rare plants, falconry
        • Law suits, hunting
        • Military knowledge
      • (Plays began to be written c.1591)
      • 1592-1597, Marriage
        • Italian marriage comedies
        • Tutor to Anne Clifford
      • 1611, onwards
        • Major poet
        • poverty, in sorrows cell
        • matches the Sonnets
    • Aemilia’s decline in fortune 1597+ matches the Sonnets
      • In the late 1590s she told Dr Forman that her husband was wasting her money on bad deals
      • By 1611 she was in “sorrows cell” comparable to the Sonnets
      • was imprisoned, and later appeared in court records as a pauper, buried in common grave
      • Received no honors or title
    • Spitalfields: Growing up 1569-1576
      • Aemilia grew up near to the theater district, next to a silk weaving factory
      • In a family of Venetian Jews, who practiced their religion in secret
      • Jews having been expelled in the 13th century
      • Her next door neighbor’s daughter, Ann Lok, invented the sonnet sequence
    • The Bassano (or Bassanio) Family
      • Jewish/Italian/ Moorish family origin
      • Spoke fluent Italian
      • Described in legal records as ‘black’
      • Were the Court recorder troupe and moonlighted doing theater music
    • The world’s most musical plays & a family of musicians Son, Henry Husband, Alphonso Amelia Father Baptista Mother uncle Maternal cousin Robert Johnson Brother in law Nicholas Brother in law Innocent Uncle John Uncle Avise Uncle Jasper Uncle Jacomo Johnsons Laniers 3 cousins Bassanos
    • ‘ Adopted’ by the Willoughbies 1576-1582
      • From the age of seven she was brought up in the Willoughby family
      • The matriarch of the family was the Duchess of Suffolk
      • A Tudor feminist she persuaded Henry VIII to allow women to read the Bible privately for themselves
      • Knew Tyndale, the Bible translator
    • Family Trees
    • The Willoughbies: Countess Susan Bertie
      • C.Suffolk’s daughter Susan Bertie acted as Amelia’s foster mother
      • She was educated by the Bible translator Coverdale
      • Lived near Aynsley (the model for Lear) and had access to works by De Pisan used in the plays, and by no other English writer
    • Lord Willoughby: Peregrine Bertie
      • The head of the family was Lord Willoughby. The plays may reflect his expertise as England’s most famous soldier, and allude to him
      • He was Ambassador to Denmark, an amateur astronomer,and a friend of Tycho Brahe’s
    • Knowledge of the Court narrows possible candidates
      • Court limited to 500
      • Plays show an insider’s knowledge of the court, eg. dance, hunting, games
      • They invent new words like courtiers did, use allegory, and indirect allusion like at Court
    • Mistress to Lord Hunsdon from 1582-1592
      • At age of 13 Aemilia became his mistress and lived in his palace for 10 years
      • He was the Queen’s half-brother, powerful at Court
      • His expertise is reflected in the plays’ military, legal, botanical and falconry knowledge
    • She lived with him for a decade in Somerset House
      • General in charge of London
      • Held 3 legal appointments
      • Garden of rare plants
      • Master of the Royal Falcons
    • Master of the Royal Falcons
      • Lord Hunsdon was master of the Royal Falcons.
      • The Shakespearean plays mention tame birds raised from eggs by a falconer, and details of bird training and equipment.
      • Proportionately the plays use 15 times more falconry references than Marlowe, Greene or Ben Jonson.
    • And the most influential man in London’s theater
      • Hunsdon was Lord Chamberlain, in charge of the theaters, and all court entertainments
      • He was also Patron of the company that performed all the Shakespearean plays after 1594
    • Her Affair with Earl of Southampton
      • The dedicatee of the poems Rape of Lucrece and V&A
      • He was her next door neighbor, and she mentions having an affair with him
      • He was assisting her family financially ten years later
    • Marlowe’s Lover and Apprentice
      • Marlowe’s language is a strong influence on the early plays
      • He matches the lover in A Lover’s Complaint
      • His plays contain a non Christian allegory that is echoed in the Shakespearean plays
    • Family Ties to the theater company and Jonson
      • She had family ties to Ben Jonson who echoed one of her poems
      • Her brother-in-law and her sister-in law’s husband, worked on many of Jonson’s masques
      • Her maternal cousin wrote music/dances for five Shakespearean plays performed by the theater company
    • C. The Literary Evidence An Introduction
    • The Literary Evidence
      • 1)Aemilia is linked to the plays by her full name associated with the dying swan, the ‘swan signatures’ resulting from changes to Othello in 1622-3
      • 2) Salve Deus also has direct literary links to the plays
      • 3) She was England’s only Jewish poet, and the plays contain a Jewish religious allegory
    • 1).Othello’s 1622 revisions
      • Somehow I63 extra lines by the author, were added in to the 1622 Quarto of Othello when the First Folio was published in 1623
      • Many of those lines expand the part of Aemelia and put in the willow song
      • These inexplicable changes also create the ‘swan signatures’.
    • Swan Signatures: Aemilia Johnson Willoughby Bassanio
      • The swan dying to music was the standard image of the Renaissance Poet
      • It is used in the plays to identify Aemilia by all her four names
        • In MOV refers to Bassanio
        • In KJ refers to John’s son
        • In Othello the passage is sung by Aemilia and
        • goes willough willough willough
      • Statistically this cannot be a co-incidence.
    • 2.Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (1611) is linked to the plays
      • Published under her own name, a gospel satire
      • Same sources,compositional techniques, use of rare and unusual words, as in the plays
      • 3000 lines long, comprising several different works
      • Including a 160 line masque like The Tempest’s
      • And a long irreverent satire of the crucifixion
    • Similarities of Language
      • The Cookham poem echoes Dream ,using similar word clusters
      • Use of unique words like Dictina, found in LLL as Dictima (4,2,37)
      • Uses at least 8 words eg. amazement invented by ‘Shakespeare’
    • 3)The Plays contain a Jewish religious Allegory
      • Allegory, a “false semblant” (Puttenham) was common in Elizabethan literature,
      • In allegory one thing stood for another.
      • Texts had a honeyed surface that common people would understand, and beneath, an allegorical meaning that only the wise would understand
      • They were used as a vehicle for transmitting forbidden knowledge and by-passing censorship
    • Elizabethan Theater and anti-Christian Satire
      • “ Our salvation is not to be jested at in filthy plays on stages and scaffolds. Or mixed with bawdry, wanton shows and uncomely gestures” (Stubbes, Anatomy of Abuses , 1583)
      • That is exactly what the Shakespearean plays do, but covertly
    • (i) As You Like It: ‘Arden’ as allegory for Judea
      • A lodge is to be burnt, everyone is starving, greasy citizens are being massacred, the forest is turned into a desert, people are hung on trees, it is a temple, and surrounded by a circle……
      • And ruled by an outlaw tyrant, a usurper, a “Roman conqueror”
      • It is the Jewish War
    • (ii)The allegory in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
      • A Midsummer Night’s Dream, contains a comic allegory of Christianity.
      • The death of Bottom/ Pyramus parodies the crucifixion eg. dice game
      • (Dr. Patricia Parker identified the Bottom/Pyramus, Thisbe/church, Quince/St Peter, Wall/Partition allegory in 1998)
    • Death of Pyramus is a spoof of the Passion Story
      • IN THE PLAY
      • Two references to Passion
      • Stabbed in side
      • Light disappears
      • No die but an ace refers to dice playing
      • Resurrection of Bottom and spirits
      • GOSPEL
      • Known as the ’passion story’
      • Stabbed in side
      • Darkness comes over the land
      • Men play dice
      • Resurrection of spirits and Jesus
    • Little ‘Indian’ Boy, Titania, and Oberon and the War
      • Titania=Titus Caesar
      • Oberon=Yahweh
      • The war is the Roman-Jewish war 66-73CE
      • The Boy is a Little Iudean Boy, a Messianic figure
      • Bees/Maccabees
    • D. Implications for Jewish History
    • Importance of the allegories
      • This research identifies not just the author but the underlying meaning of all the plays
      • They are Jewish religious satires and must be understood in light of The Jewish War
      • And leading edge theories about the writing of the gospels
    • Aemilia’s Death (1645)
      • She was buried here in St James’ Clerkenwell in a common grave
      • She has no memorial and is known only to a few scholars of early English verse
      • We have an ethical and moral obligation to make her achievement known
    • Next Steps: preparing a ‘platform’ for the biography
      • Foster discussions at synagogues and Jewish organizations, as a social justice issue
      • Seek donors and Board Members for the Dark Lady Players
      • Establish an audience for the next play production on a larger scale, to help fund it,
      • Academic presentation at Authorship Conference in October and at American College Theater Festival in January 2009
      • [email_address]