Was Shakespeare a woman? An aristocrat? A government spy? Join Mark Rylance and Elizabeth Winkler for a heretical investigation into the Shakespeare authorship controversy.
The theory that Shakespeare may not have written the works that bear his name is the most horrible, vexed, unspeakable subject in the history of English literature. Scholars admit that the Bard’s biography is a “black hole,” yet to publicly question the identity of the legend is unacceptable, even (some say) “immoral.”
In conversation with Sir Mark Rylance, arguably the most distinguished stage actor of his generation, journalist and critic Elizabeth Winkler will set out to probe the origins of this literary taboo.
Whisking readers from London to Stratford-upon-Avon to Washington, DC, she will pull back the curtain to show how the forces of nationalism and empire, religion and mythmaking, gender and class have shaped our admiration for Shakespeare across the centuries.
As she considers the writers and thinkers – from Walt Whitman to Sigmund Freud to Supreme Court justices – who have grappled with the riddle of the plays’ origins, she will explore who may perhaps have been hiding behind his name. Hovering over the mystery are Shakespeare’s plays themselves, with their love for mistaken identities, disguises, and things never quite being what they seem.
This livestream event will forever change how you think of Shakespeare… and of how we as a society decide what’s up for debate and what’s just nonsense, just heresy.