The “Cymbeline” Discovery

As discussed in detail in Thomas North: The Original Author of Shakespeare’s Plays and reported in The Guardian (Observer), in October of 2021, Michael Blanding found a 1533 edition of Fabyan’s Chronicle at Harvard University, originally owned by Roger, 2nd Lord North and filled with Thomas’s marginal notes. After careful analysis, we discovered that Thomas North used it as a workbook in the creation of Cymbeline, writing out notes that would serve as the outline for the historical plot of the play. As the featured imagive above shows, North’s marginalia even include a near-quote (with a unique spelling) of Cymbeline that appears in no other known source. Below are a few more pictures of this marginalia, linking to plot elements in the play. For a full analysis, please check out Thomas North:

Caius Lucius as proconsul of France and general who invades Britain –and Julius Caesar being “twice beaten” back to the sea:

Major Characters and Events of Cymbeline Plot:

Source of Cloten’s murder by a haven, his head cut off, and thrown into the creek:

Quoting from Thomas North: The Original Author of Shakespeare’s Plays:

Significantly, a careful study of Thomas’s 53 marginal comments confirms that he was using it to create an outline of the historical plot of Cymbeline, often alluding to its characters and events and at times even near-quoting the play. This is the first outline to a Shakespeare play ever discovered, and it provides a clear view of how the play was constructed.

–Thomas North: The Original AUthor of Shakespeare’s Plays

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