Category: Shakespeare

Chicago Tribune, Illinois, May 16, 1926

The post appeared first on Yesterday's Print.

A 16th-century book, with notes in the margins, may have been annotated by Shakespeare himself. The 1576 copy of François de Belleforest’s “Histoires Tragiques” has faded ink symbols next to six passages – passages featuring a Danish prince who avenges his father’s murder by his uncle, who cemented his stolen throne by marrying the prince’s mother. Sound familiar?

The “Histoires Tragiques” was already thought to have been one of Shakespeare’s sources for Hamlet. This new find may have been the specific copy Shakespeare read!

Boston Post, Massachusetts, June 12, 1920

Mary Pickford, Taming of the Shrew, 1929

Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming, July 28, 1941

The bane of students, plagiarism software, which is usually used by teachers and professors to tell when someone copy and pasted a paper, has recently been applied to the Elizabethan playwrite. And while it does not say he wholesale copied his plays, he definitely took inspiration from an unpublished manuscript titled “A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels,” written in the late 1500s by George North. North was a minor figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth, who served as an ambassador to Sweden.

Shakespeare used many of the same terms as North, and often uses them in scenes about similar themes, and even the same historical characters. Such “plagiarism” shows up in eleven of Shakespeare’s plays, including King Lear, Richard III, and Macbeth. An unpublished manuscript by an obscure Elizabethan courtier helped inspire one of the greatest playwrites and poets of all time. Pretty exciting!

The full inventory of Shakespeare’s possessions, which would have listed his books and other important information that modern historians would kill for, was probably sent to London. Important records were kept at the time in the capital. Unfortunately, that means the inventory was most likely destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.

The Indianapolis Star, Indiana, April 13, 1956

The Fort Wayne Sentinel, Indiana, December 11, 1916

Eating mulberries in Shakespeare’s garden, Stratford-Upon-Avon, 1928