Ann Hathaway steps out of the shadows

Best known for her quaint house and her inheritance of the “second-best bed,” Shakespeare's wife, Ann Hathaway, has been mostly a mystery figure. Now a new book, Shakespeare's Wife by Germaine Greer, sheds some light on a little-understood woman. Katie Roiphe as the New York Times Sunday Review.

From the review:

From this slender evidence, along with liberal and dubious readings of the plays and sonnets, scholars have created a robust portrait of the Shakespeares’ unhappy domestic life — a “marriage of evil auspices,” as one scholar put it. Rather than inhibiting biographers, the lack of information seems to have freed many of them to project their own fantasies onto the relationship. The prevailing image of Ann Hathaway is that of an illiterate seductress who beguiled the young Shakespeare, conceived a child and ensnared him in a loveless union. Germaine Greer’s task in her ingenious new book, “Shakespeare’s Wife,” is to expose the construction of this fantasy.