Articles

How William Shakespeare and Emilia Bassano-Lanier
Invented Romantic Love
By Paul Kauffman - February 2018

This short book is an amazing new study of Shakespeare’s complex inner life, drawing on his sonnets, plays and personal history. The book also studies the poetry, prose and sexual conquests of the highly educated, multilingual and musical Emilia Bassano-Lanier who was mistress of Shakespeare’s patron and Shakespeare’s most probable muse. – Jennifer Mosher


The book, with 52 illustrations, is a ground breaking study which provides the best explanation so far for William Shakespeare’s knowledge of Italian and Latin literature, of the court, and of his other creative achievements, including insights into romantic love and passion.


Shakespeare drew on the plots of some 37 Italian “novelle” (“little novels”) and Latin plays to write his own plays. Many of his best plays used novelle which had never been translated into English. Did he teach himself Italian or did someone help him?
The book also reveals the literary and personal accomplishments of Emilia Bassano-Lanier. Fluent in three languages, including Italian, and educated by two countesses, she was the former mistress of the Lord Chamberlain, Henry Carey, who was patron of Shakespeare’s company of players. She was one the first women to write a book of poetry in English and her inspiration and assistance provide a plausible explanation for some of Shakespeare’s remarkable accomplishments.

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The Life of Shakespeare and Emilia Bassano

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