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Sir Thomas More


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Master of the Revels

Anthony Munday (1560—1633) playwright and translator

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A play written for the Admiral's Men, surviving in an incomplete scribal transcript submitted to Sir Edmund Tilney, Master of the Revels, perhaps about 1593, perhaps about 1601, who required revisions, which were supplied in five different hands. One of these, known as Hand D, is believed by many to be Shakespeare's. If so, it is his only surviving literary manuscript. It is a scene of three pages depicting More, as Sheriff of London, pacifying apprentices in a May-day rebellion against foreigners. Studies of handwriting, spelling, style, and thought have supported the attribution to Shakespeare. The revisions did not satisfy the censor. The play's first known professional performance was given in London in 1954; in 1964, Ian McKellen played More in a Nottingham Playhouse production directed by Frank Dunlop, and in 1990Ken Bones played the title role at the Shaw Theatre.

Subjects: Shakespeare studies and criticism.


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