Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer

Aussie firebrand turns to Mrs Shakespeare

Writer, academic, critic and commentator Germaine Greer has been a particularly bristly thorn in establishment sides for the best part of 40 years. A native of Melbourne, she sprang fully-formed onto the global literary stage with The Female Eunuch, her hugely provocative, brutally direct polemic on the nature of female sexuality and place in society. Greer would return to this theme in 1999’s The Whole Woman and has also published works of literary criticism and an art history exploration of teenage male beauty, The Boy.

When The Untamed Shrew, Christine Wallace’s biography of Greer, was published in 1997, its subject dismissed the book as worthless. ‘I don’t write about any living women … because I think that’s invidious,’ she said. Greer went on to describe Wallace as a ‘dung beetle’ and ‘flesh-eating bacterium’. Greer’s latest work, Shakespeare’s Wife, deals with one of the most intriguing women in English literary history, Anne Hathaway. An enigmatic figure about whom little is known, Hathaway held the fort in Stratford while her industrious husband spent most of his life in London. In his will, Shakespeare famously made her the beneficiary of ‘the second-best bed’. Greer’s take on this shadowy figure promises a revealing social history of the Elizabethan age coupled with an unrivalled literary knowledge. (Allan Radcliffe)

Recommended Reading: Sex and Destiny analyses the politics of human fertility.

18 Aug, 11.30am, £7 (£5).