Amelia Bassano: For decades, many have argued that William Shakespeare was not the genuine creator of the works attributed to him, from late Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Antonin Scalia to Mark Twain and Walt Whitman.
The theory has now spread to social media.
All of Shakespeare’s plays were written by Amelia (SIC) Bassano. “They wouldn’t publish her work because she was black,” according to a Facebook post from Sept.
22. “She died penniless because she was never paid for her work.” Shakespeare couldn’t even write his own name because he was illiterate.”
The user who made the message did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
The claim was also made in 2015, but was later refuted by Snopes and Africa Check in 2019.
Fact check: Popular phrase origin myths are nothing more than urban legends.
Aemilia Bassano, who is she?
According to the Poetry Foundation, Aemilia Bassano, later known as Lanyer, was the daughter of Baptist Bassano, a court musician, and Margaret Johnson. She lived between 1569 and 1645.
According to the foundation, “Aemilia Lanyer was the first woman writing in English to publish a major volume of poetry designed to be printed and receive support.”
Bassano also maintained a school in a rich London suburb from 1617 to 1619, where she aimed to “train and educate the children of diverse persons of quality and understanding,” but she lost her lease and did not return to teaching.
“She was one among the first women to establish and administer a school,” according to the Shakespearean Authorship Trust, “and the first woman to publish a book of original poetry Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (1611).” She died penniless.
Bassano is not the woman in the photo.
The woman in the photo that users claim is Bassano is actually a work by Italian painter Paolo Veronese called “Portrait of a Moorish Woman.”
Bassano was not black, according to Snopes, and she “was part of a family of Italian court musicians of Moroccan/Semitic descent who lived as clandestine Jews,” according to her biography.
“Nobody knows with confidence what she looked like,” according to The Shakespeare’s Conspirator, because no certified paintings of Bassano exist.
Historians have long theorised that a picture by Nicholas Hillard in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum could be of Bassano. Others say the woman in the image is Mary Fitton, Queen Elizabeth I’s maid of honour.
There is no proof. Bassano’s was a playwright.
Bassano, Elizabeth I, James I, and the Earl of Rutland are just a few of the many celebrities who claim to be the author of Shakespeare’s plays, according to Michael Dobson, a Shakespeare studies professor and director of the Shakespeare Institute.
In an email to USA TODAY, Dobson said, “An enormous range of documentary evidence of all kinds, including eyewitness reports from Shakespeare’s colleagues, patrons, fans, employers.
Neighbours, and printers, confirms that the plays and poems published as William Shakespeare’s were written by William Shakespeare, one of the least literate people in world history.”
He claims that conspiracy theories questioning Shakespeare’s authorship began in the mid-nineteenth century, 250 years after his death.
According to the Shakespearean Authorship Trust, in 2007, John Hudson identified Bassano as one of 66 contenders for creating Shakespeare’s plays at a talk at the Smithsonian Institution as part of the Washington Shakespeare Festival.
Many people have claimed to be Shakespeare’s author, but there is no proof to back them up.
While Bassano’s name appears in several Shakespeare plays, her writing style bears no similarity to Shakespeare’s, and her poetry is more “traditional and pious literary style more closely linked with her time,” according to Parlia.
According to the Parlia article, “there is nothing to firmly establish that Bassano was anything more than a companion or mistress who inspired Shakespeare and bestowed experiences of distant cultures and literature that would later feature in his plays.”
Shakespeare fans, known as Stratfordians, according to History.com, underline that the body of evidence that does exist points to Shakespeare as the author and no one else.
“The concept has nearly the same currency among Shakespeare scholars as the faked moon landing has among astronauts,” Shakespeare professor Stephen Marche wrote in the New York Times.
Amelia Bassano Our ruling: False
Based on our study, we evaluate this claim as FALSE. There is no proof that the woman in the portrait is Bassano, and there is no proof that she was the author of Shakespeare’s plays.