Academics from Aberystwyth University in Wales combed through historical archives to uncover details of the playwright's parallel life as a merchant and property owner whose practices sometimes brought him into conflict with the law.
He was pursued by authorities for tax evasion and in 1598 he was prosecuted for hoarding grain during a time of shortage.
The academics argue that we can't fully understand Shakespeare unless we study his business-savvy side and the era of hunger in which he lived.
Researcher Jayne Archer said on Sunday that those aspects were overlooked because many people "cannot countenance the idea of a creative genius also being motivated by self-interest."
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