North, George

North, George, fl. 1561–81, English gentleman, man of letters, and diplomat. A minor figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, he served as an ambassador to Sweden in 1564 and translated or adapted several foreign works. In the late 1500s he penned the unpublished A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels, a denunciation of rebels. Rediscovered by scholars in the 21st cent., the manuscript has been identified, using plagiarism-detection software, as a significant source for language, scenes, themes, and characters in Shakespeare's King Lear (notably the character of the Fool), Macbeth, Richard III, Henry V, and other works.

See study with text of North's work by D. McCarthy and J. Schlueter (2018).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish History: Biographies