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(Hybrid) The Shakespeare Industry with Elizabeth Winkler

Wed June 12 @ 19 h 30 - 20 h 30


Who, really, was Shakespeare? Why do so many theories circulate about his identity? What happens when we challenge the widely-accepted image of the Bard?

Shakespeare’s personal biography has mystified academics, armchair fans, and experts for centuries. So what happens when a scholar, an actor, or any authority, suggests that perhaps those immortal plays weren’t all written by Shakespeare? Was the author an anonymous aristocrat? Or a spy? Perhaps a woman?

Shakespeare Was A Woman and Other Heresies by Elizabeth Winkler is an “extraordinarily brilliant” and “pleasurably naughty” (André Aciman) investigation into the Shakespeare authorship question. Winkler explores with humor, fun, and hell-bent detection, all sorts of possibilities. But that’s only part of it. Winkler does much more than suggest alternatives; she delves into why doubters have been castigated, and thrown to the literary curb. No matter what side you’re on, Shakespeare Was A Woman And Other Heresies is more than a detective book for fans of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets—it’s a fascinating and truly entertaining analysis of literary and cultural history.

“No, Elizabeth Winkler doesn’t reveal the true identity of the writer Ruth Bader Ginsburg termed “the literary genius known by the name William Shakespeare.” But she does explain how we’ve wound up with, among an army of others, a republican Shakespeare and a monarchist Shakespeare, a Shakespeare who hated his wife and one who loved his, a Shakespeare who wrote all the plays and a Shakespeare who could not write at all. Along her intrepid way, Winkler charts, with refreshing clarity, the much-contested ground underfoot, studded with flinty convictions, gnarled fictions, and a surprising number of land mines.”
—Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Revolutionary and American Library in Paris Writer-in-Residence

About the speaker:

Elizabeth Winkler is a journalist and critic whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, the New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Economist, among other publications. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her master’s in English literature from Stanford University. She lives in Washington, DC.

Learn more:

Read excerpts from Winkler’s book on Martin Droeshout’s portrait of Shakespeare published in the New Statesman and Shakespeare’s reputed birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, published in the New York Times.

Important information: The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (the speaker will appear in the Reading Room), the Library will stream the conversation on Zoom for a live viewing experience. Both in-person and online attendees will be able to pose questions.

Attendance at this event constitutes permission for your photograph or video to be taken at the event and used by the American Library in Paris for marketing, promotional, pedagogical, or other purposes.

Read along with the Library! If you want to prepare ahead of this event, copies of Shakespeare Was a Woman and Other Heresies will be on sale one week in advance, as well as after the event. Stop by Member Services to purchase your copy. Books are generously provided by Smith&Son.

Attendees will have the opportunity to have their copy signed following the conversation.

Evenings with an Author are free and open to the public (with a 10€ suggested donation)
thanks to the generous support of Gregory Annenberg Weingarten of GRoW @ Annenberg.


Wed June 12
19 h 30 min - 20 h 30 min
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(Hybrid) The Shakespeare Industry with Elizabeth Winkler
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