WordPlay™ Shakespeare

Now, Half the Page is a Stage...

Writing While Under the Influence...

George North Manuscript
Shakespeare did not write in a vacuum, and scholars today confirm that he was heavily influenced by Holinshed's Chronicles, and Plutarch's Lives (properly titled Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans.)

Now, an amateur and deeply capable scholar — Dennis McCarthy — has, in collaboration with Professor
June Schlueter, ferreted out what is likely to prove a powerful third influence on Shakespeare, the writing of one of Queen Elizabeth I's ambassadors to Sweden, George North. An obscure diplomat until now (his Wikipedia entry starts onFebruary 8, 2018 — 4 days ago!) he had an elegant turn of phrase that clearly caught Shakespeare's attention and imagination. The book that sparked Shakespeare's — and now our — interest, was A Brief Discourse of Rebellion & Rebels. Read the New York Times article here.

We Almost Lost 16 Plays...

David Kastan at lecture podium
George M. Bodman Professor of English David Kastan speaks at Drew
Yale scholar David Kastan speaks at Drew University, and explains how the first folio saved at least 16 of Shakespeare's plays from obscurity. A close call. More.

Henry VI, Part 1 By W. Shakespeare... and Christopher Marlowe.


1585 oil painting of Christopher Marlowe
From Wikipedia: A portrait, supposedly of Christopher Marlowe. There is in fact no evidence that the anonymous sitter is Marlowe, but the clues do point in that direction. Marlowe was 21 years old in 1585, when the painting was made. He was also the only 21-year old student at Corpus Christi, where the painting was later found.

New scholarship from the Oxford University Press suggests that Shakespeare had help from Christopher Marlowe when writing Henry VI, parts 1, 2 and 3. Corpus analysis helps solve the puzzle! More.