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)”

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””

43. In 1592, North Underlined and Wrote Out the Subtitle to “Arden of Faversham” (1592)

North’s note-writing begins early in this copy of Dial of Princes, even in the prologue and table of contents. Importantly, out of 13 pages of table of contents listing 177 chapters, North only adds notes to three of those listed chapter-titles. All three chapters and their titles are relevant to his plays –and two ofContinue reading “43. In 1592, North Underlined and Wrote Out the Subtitle to “Arden of Faversham” (1592)”

Did Shakespeare Really Adapt Old Plays? (YES! And No-One Denies This!)

As all Shakespeare source-scholars agree, and as umpteen pre-Shakespeare allusions to these earlier plays confirm, and as the first title pages of Shakespeare’s plays make clear, and as Shakespeare’s contemporaries frequently complained: Shakespeare remade old plays. This is not controversial. Yet while this is a fact that few experts deny, it still appears to beContinue reading “Did Shakespeare Really Adapt Old Plays? (YES! And No-One Denies This!)”

35. Joan Pucelle’s and Henry VI’s Ironic Allusions to North’s Disastrous Stories about Caesar

As we have seen, many characters in the Shakespeare canon like to cite various stories from North’s translations–often using them to highlight parallels to their own situation. This especially occurs in the early English histories, with various characters referencing North’s chapters on Julius Caesar in North’s Plutarch’s Lives. This includes Joan Purcelle and Henry VI,Continue reading “35. Joan Pucelle’s and Henry VI’s Ironic Allusions to North’s Disastrous Stories about Caesar”

20. North’s Marginal Notes and “Richard II”

The Rise of One Requires the Fall of Another, Like Buckets in a Well or Sun Melting Snow On March 29, 1591, Thomas North purchased a used, 1582-edition of his Dial of Princes for 5 shillings, signing the back and dating the purchase—a copy now kept at the Cambridge University Library.[1] Then he began rereadingContinue reading “20. North’s Marginal Notes and “Richard II””