Thomas North’s 1555 Travel Journal: From Italy to Shakespeare makes available a transcript of a previously unpublished early modern journal kept by a member of Queen Mary’s delegation to Rome, its purpose to win papal approval of England’s return to Roman Catholicism. The book provides details of the six-month journey, a discussion of the two extant copies of the manuscript, and an identification of the 20-year-old Thomas North as its author.
The journal is of considerable interest in and of itself. But, in addition, the authors’ research has revealed numerous connections with the plays of Shakespeare, connections that extend the playwright’s debt beyond North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives and reveal how entries in the journal served as a template for Henry VIII and The Winter’s Tale. Both, the authors argue, were written by North during the Marian years (1554-58) and later adapted by Shakespeare.
Like the authors’ 2018 “A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels” by George North, this book presents original work using digital research tools, including massive databases and plagiarism software. The earlier book garnered worldwide attention, with a front-page story in TheNew York Times.
Dennis McCarthy is an independent scholar and author of Here Be Dragons: How the Study of Animal and Plant Distributions Revolutionized Our Views of Life and Earth, as well as other titles.
June Schlueter is Charles A. Dana Professor Emerita of English at Lafayette College and author of The Album Amicorum and the London of Shakespeare’s Time, as well as other titles.
Chapter 1 The Journey
Chapter 2 The Journal and Its Author
Chapter 3 From Italy to Shakespeare
Chapter 4 Revisiting History: North’s Sources—and Shakespeare’s
Chapter 5 Henry VIII: Transplanting a Marian History Play
Chapter 6 The Winter’s Tale: An Homage to Queen Mary
Chapter 7 The Winter’s Tale and Mantua
Chapter 8 Further Thoughts on The Winter’s Tale
Epilogue: The Lost Playwright