A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels by George North
Title Details

461 Pages

24.6 x 18.6 cm

128 colour. 4 b/w. Illustrations

Imprint: D.S.Brewer

A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels by George North

A Newly Uncovered Manuscript Source for Shakespeare's Plays

by Dennis McCarthy and June Schlueter

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
A new source for Shakespeare's plays, only recently uncovered, is investigated here with a full edition and facsimile of the text.
New sources for Shakespeare do not turn up every day... This is a truly significant one that has not heretofore been studied or published. The list of passages now traced back to this source is impressive. - David Bevington, Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago

"A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels" is the only uniquely existent, unpublished manuscript that can be shown to have been a source for Shakespeare's plays. George North wrote the treatise in 1576 while at Kirtling Hall, the North family estate in Cambridgeshire. His manuscript, newly uncovered by the authors at the British Library, has many implications for our understanding of Shakespeare's plays. for example, not only does it bring clarity to the Fool's mysterious reference to Merlin in King Lear, but also upsets the prevailing opinion that Shakespeare invented the final hours of Jack Cade in 2 Henry VI. Linguistic and thematic correspondences between the North manuscript and Shakespeare's plays make it clear that the playwright borrowed from this document in other plays as well, including Richard III, 3 Henry VI, Henry V, King John, Macbeth, and Coriolanus. The opening chapters of the book investigate such connections; the volume also contains both a transcript and a facsimile of "A Brief Discourse", making this previously unknown document readily available.

DENNIS MCCARTHY is an independent scholar; JUNE SCHLUETER is Charles A. Dana Professor Emerita of English at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania.
George North and the Kirtling Hall Manuscript
Uncovering Connections between North's "Discourse" and Shakespeare's Plays
The Final Hours of Jack Cade
The Fool, Merlin's Prophecy, and the Upside-Down World of King Lear
Political Monologues and a Glimpse of Coriolanus
Afterword: The Odds That the Parallels Are Coincidental
Transcript: "A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels"
Facsimile: "A brief discourse of rebellion and Rebells, wherin is showyd, ye treasur yt Traytors in ye execution of theyr treason, by tym attayne to"
Index
"For years scholars have debated what inspired William Shakespeare's writings. Now, with the help of software typically used by professors to nab cheating students, two writers have discovered an unpublished manuscript they believe the Bard of Avon consulted to write King Lear, Macbeth, Richard III, Henry and seven other plays. The news has caused Shakespeareans to sit up and take notice. 'If it proves to be what they say it is, it is a once-in-a-generation - or several generations - find,' said Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington." NEW YORK TIMES
"In 1576, English diplomat George North wrote a treatise on rebellion that for almost 450 years went largely unnoticed. . . . McCarthy and Schlueter provide a thorough overview of the history and provenance of the manuscript, along with compelling explanations about how it influenced Shakespeare's plays. Most helpful is the inclusion of the entire North manuscript in an oversize and easy-to-read format. Highly recommended. x" NEW YORK TIMES
"A Brief Discourse is one of the most exciting recent discoveries in the long history of Shakespeare source study. The editors' argument appears to resolve longstanding textual cruxes around Cade's last hours, Merlin's cryptic prophecy in Lear, and a key speech by Canterbury in Henry V, which sheds light on Gloucester's opening monologue in Richard III, Macbeth's catalogue of dogs, and several other discrete passages within the Shakespeare canon. With considerable credit to Boydell and Brewer and The British Library, the book is also beautifully produced and a pleasure to navigate, from its introductory essay, to the modernized transcription, to the full-color facsimile of the manuscript." SIXTEENTH CENTURY JOURNAL

Hardcover

9781843844884

March 2018

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$120.00 / £75.00

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9781787441842

March 2018

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Title Details

461 Pages

2.46 x 1.86 cm

128 colour. 4 b/w. Illustrations

Imprint: D.S.Brewer