Rethinking Anne Hathaway

History has been cruel to Anne Hathaway. For centuries, scholars and journalists have vilified her as a homely wench to whom William Shakespeare was unfortunately shackled. As the dominant story goes (and it is just a story for, as with so much of Shakespeare's life, there is little primary source material to back up the biographers' narratives), 26-year-old Anne coaxed 18-year-old William into a careless roll in the hay. Her pregnancy forced their marriage and young Will fled the misery of Stratford-upon-Avon for London, where he promptly became the world's greatest playwright. Citing the omission of Anne's name from his will,...

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