Hoarder, moneylender, tax dodger – they are not how we think of William Shakespeare.
However, academics say he was ruthless and grew wealthy dealing grain in time of famine.
Researchers from Aberystwyth University in Wales yesterday told how the dramatist can not be understood unless his business savvy is recognised.
“Shakespeare the grain-hoarder has been redacted from history so Shakespeare the creative genius could be born,” the researchers say in a paper to be delivered at Wales’ Hay literary festival in May.
Jayne Archer, lecturer in Renaissance literature, said the oversight is the product of “a wilful ignorance on behalf of scholars who I think – perhaps through snobbery – cannot countenance the idea of a genius also being motivated by self-interest.”