previously unknown portrait of Shakespeare has been found.

“We’re 90 per cent sure that it’s Shakespeare,” [Paul Edmondson of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust] said. “You’ll never be entirely certain. There will always be voices of dissent.”

He said scholars are convinced it is Shakespeare because so many copies of the painting were made, including the one at the Folger, and because the painting was handed down through the generations along with a portrait of the Earl of Southampton, Shakespeare’s main patron.

He said the portrait had long been part of the Cobbe collection owned by the Cobbe family, but had not been connected to Shakespeare until 2006, when one of the family members saw the Folger Shakespeare painting on display at a travelling exhibition in London and realized the similarity between the two. (from globeandmail.com)

All the uncertainties and controversies around Shakespeare are a fertile field for writers, inspiring many books, movies and short stories.  The latest one I’ve read is We Haven’t Got There Yet by Harry Turtledove, where an irate Shakespeare attends a performance he suspects is plagiarising Hamlet, but instead he is mesmerized by a performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Harry Turtledove on the genesis of the story (from comments on Tor.com):

This one owes something to the research I did for RULED BRITANNIA and a big something to my daughter Rebecca. She’s a theater major in college and a stone Stoppard freak. Because of her, the whole family went to see R&G. As we were walking out to the car after the performance, I wondered out loud what Shakespeare would have made of the play . . . and “We Haven’t Got There Yet” is the result.

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