October 1st, 2008



What name is missing?
Andrew, [ missing name ] and possibly Thomas

I suppose it is mildly topical

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Sir Thomas More (Act 2 Scene 4, by William Shakespeare)

Roughly in the right place for my reading of Shakespeare is this curiosity, a single scene from a play about Sir Thomas More, written in the early 1590s but first published in 1844 (and apparently first performed in 1964, with Ian McKellen in the title role). The play survives only in manuscript, and six different writers are identifiable, of which this scene is the sole contribution of "Hand D", generally reckoned to be none other than William Shakespeare.

It's rather good. We are in London in 1517; anti-immigrant riots are about to break out; Thomas More, the sheriff of London, succeeds where his aristocratic superiors fail and quells the mob, shaming them into submission to lawful authority; as a reward, he is knighted and appointed to the Privy Council. More has a particularly good set of speeches; you can go to the link I put at the top of the post, but this extract, telling the crowd that by using unlawful force against the immigrants ("strangers") they risk destroying the basis for the stability of their own society, gives the flavour (also that it needed a bit more editing):
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The play was heavily censored - there had been more anti-immigrant riots in 1593, so it was perhaps too topical - and the production company eventually dropped it. But by a quirk of fate, the manuscript survived. Good.

Henry VI, Part I | Henry VI, Part II | Henry VI, Part III | Richard III | Comedy of Errors | Titus Andronicus | Taming of the Shrew | Two Gentlemen of Verona | Love's Labour's Lost | Romeo and Juliet | Richard II | A Midsummer Night's Dream | King John | The Merchant of Venice | Henry IV, Part I | Henry IV, Part II | Henry V | Julius Caesar | Much Ado About Nothing | As You Like It | Merry Wives of Windsor | Hamlet | Twelfth Night | Troilus and Cressida | All's Well That Ends Well | Measure for Measure | Othello | King Lear | Macbeth | Antony and Cleopatra | Coriolanus | Timon of Athens | Pericles | Cymbeline | The Winter's Tale | The Tempest | Henry VIII | The Two Noble Kinsmen | Edward III | Sir Thomas More (fragment)