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Was Shakespeare gay, and does it matter? | John Sutherland

Although not a new question, its re-emergence is germane to the interpretation of his plays, and not just a scholars’ spat

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, Let me not to the marriage of true minds, has of recent years become as popular a recitation at weddings as recitals of Frank Sinatra’s My Way at funerals.

If wide notice is taken of a current spat over what we can read about Shakespeare’s sexuality into the sonnets in the correspondence columns of the Times Literary Supplement, Sonnet 20 may be a future favourite at civil unions. The opening line, to remind you, is A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted / Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion.

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