54. The Description of Romeo’s Sorrow Comes From North’s ‘Dial’ & Pre-Dates 1562 Poem

Shakespearean editors have long known that an English play of Romeo and Juliet existed even before the future playwright was born in Stratford in 1564. Young poet Arthur Brooke complimented the staged version in the foreword to his 1562 poem on the doomed lovers. Those scholars who have carefully studied all the iterations of theContinue reading “54. The Description of Romeo’s Sorrow Comes From North’s ‘Dial’ & Pre-Dates 1562 Poem”

53. Shakespeare and Brooke Both Borrowed from North’s pre-1562 “Romeo and Juliet”: Changing Juliet’s Wedding into a Funeral

In 1562, two years before Shakespeare was born and seven years after Thomas North traveled through the Lombardy regions of Italy with the Viscount Montague, young Arthur Brooke referred to a stage tragedy on Romeo and Juliet. Brooke, who had connections to the Inns of Court, cited the play in a foreword to his longContinue reading “53. Shakespeare and Brooke Both Borrowed from North’s pre-1562 “Romeo and Juliet”: Changing Juliet’s Wedding into a Funeral”

52. An Original Poem by North & Turning Juliet’s Wedding into a Funeral

As detailed in earlier posts, North would often write original passages in his translations. That is, he would veer from the language of his source-text, at times preferring to craft his own speeches and descriptions as opposed to closely transcribing the work in front of him. One extraordinary example is North’s original, 110-line poetic complaintContinue reading “52. An Original Poem by North & Turning Juliet’s Wedding into a Funeral”

51. Cassio’s Book-Learning vs. Iago’s Real Experiences in War (North’s Marginal Notes)

In the opening discussion of Othello, Iago criticizes the recently promoted Cassio because he knows nothing about war other than what he has read in books and does not have Iago’s actual experiences in battle. The origin of the passage clearly comes from one underscored by North in his own Dial of Princes, in whichContinue reading “51. Cassio’s Book-Learning vs. Iago’s Real Experiences in War (North’s Marginal Notes)”

Quotes and Descriptions of North’s Plays That Appeared Long Before Shakespeare Adapted Them (1-4)

Frustratingly, when Elizabethan writers often referred to plays performed by Leicester Men’s–including all of Thomas North’s plays–they never named the playwright. This is why it has taken so long to determine who wrote them. Still, many writers did do the next best thing: They often quoted the play. To those innocent of the fact thatContinue reading “Quotes and Descriptions of North’s Plays That Appeared Long Before Shakespeare Adapted Them (1-4)”

50. “Exit Pursued by a Bear:” The Nobleman Antigonus, the Banishment to Sicily, Being Eaten Alive by A Bear, the Sky-Darkening Storm that Kills the Mariners, and the Clamors, Cries, and Roars

Perhaps, the most famous stage direction in the Shakespeare canon occurs in The Winter’s Tale and involves the doomed character Antigonus. He leaves the play abruptly after abandoning the banished baby Perdita on the shores of a distant land: “Exit pursued by a bear,” reads the stage-direction. We soon discover that Antigonus doesn’t survive, andContinue reading “50. “Exit Pursued by a Bear:” The Nobleman Antigonus, the Banishment to Sicily, Being Eaten Alive by A Bear, the Sky-Darkening Storm that Kills the Mariners, and the Clamors, Cries, and Roars”

49. North Marked the “Description of Sorrow” in his “Dial” That He Used in “Romeo and Juliet”

In North’s own copy of his translation of the 1582 edition of The Dial of Princes, the translator adds a marginal note highlighting the “description of sorrow (Fol. 296 in 1582 edition; 475 in 1619 ed.) The passage describes how people act when they are depressed: they crave solitude, hate the day, love the night,Continue reading “49. North Marked the “Description of Sorrow” in his “Dial” That He Used in “Romeo and Juliet””

48. North’s Marginalia in “Arden/Shrew” Chapter: The Battle of the Sexes.

In this very same chapter on how to deal with Shrews of North’s Dial that North, himself, marked in the table of contents –what we call here the Arden/Shrew chapter (see posts 43-6) –North underscores the last line in a passage stressing the contrarian nature of women. This is in Aurelius’s speech to his wife,Continue reading “48. North’s Marginalia in “Arden/Shrew” Chapter: The Battle of the Sexes.”

47. North’s Marginalia, “Slaunderous Tongues,” & Lightly Weighing Words in “Arden of Faversham”

In this very same chapter of The Dial that North marked in the table of contents and used for other passages in Arden of Faversham (see posts 43-6) — and on this same page (149r) examined earlier –directly beneath the emphasized passage on “the fear of the Gods…and the speech of men,” North underlines theContinue reading “47. North’s Marginalia, “Slaunderous Tongues,” & Lightly Weighing Words in “Arden of Faversham””

46. More of the “Arden” Passage in North’s Marked Chapter

As we saw in the previous posts, in 1591-2, North marked up his own copy of The Dial of Princes, using it as a workbook for plays he was either revising or writing at that time, especially working from chapters that he underscored in the table of contents. In one of these chapters, on pageContinue reading “46. More of the “Arden” Passage in North’s Marked Chapter”