'The Portrait of Mr. W. H.' is Published

First published by Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 'The Portrait of Mr. W. H.' follows the obsession of trying to figure out who the name of this person, known only by his initials, to whom Shakespeare dedicated the first edition of his Sonnets (1609). It plays off the theory by Thomas Tyrwitt in 1766 that the identity of the man is Wil Hughes, an actor in Shakespeare's company. The character's need to believe their theory is correct drives them to extreme lengths, going as far as to commission a fake portrait of Will Hughes to admire, and expresses themes of exhausted passions for ideas. At the time of publication, the short story was controversial for its homoerotic nature of men's adoration for another. Involving Shakespeare in the homosexual subtext of the story also made it controversial and stopped its publication with Elkin Matthews before it could be released in 1893. The manuscript was lost for years, until its resurfacing and publication in 1921, America.

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