On the Date, Sources and Design of Shakespeare’s The Tempest


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About the Book

This book challenges a longstanding and deeply ingrained belief in Shakespearean studies that The Tempest—long supposed to be Shakespeare’s last play—was not written until 1611. In the course of investigating this proposition, which has not received the critical inquiry it deserves, a number of subsidiary and closely related interpretative puzzles come sharply into focus. These include the play’s sources of New World imagery; its festival symbolism and structure; its relationship to William Strachey’s True Reportory account of the 1609 Bermuda wreck of the Sea Venture (not published until 1625)—and the tangled history of how and why scholars have for so long misunderstood these matters.
Publication of some preliminary elements of the authors’ arguments in leading Shakespearean journals (starting in 2007) ignited a controversy that became part of the critical history. This book presents the case in full for the first time.

About the Author(s)

Roger A. Stritmatter is an associate professor of humanities at Coppin State University and general editor of Brief Chronicles: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Authorship Studies. He has published on Shakespearean topics in a range of academic journals, including The Shakespeare Yearbook, Review of English Studies, and the Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
Lynne Kositsky is a poet, author, and independent researcher whose honors include the E.J. Pratt Medal and Award for Poetry and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Youth. Her articles with Roger Stritmatter on the dating and sources of Shakespeare’s The Tempest have appeared in journals such as The Oxfordian and Critical Survey. She lives in Vineland, Ontario.

Bibliographic Details

Roger A. Stritmatter and Lynne Kositsky
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 9 photos, tables, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7104-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0370-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Foreword by William S. Niederkorn 1

Introduction 7

Timeline of Events Related to William Strachey’s True Reportory

and the Bermuda Wreck of July 1609 12

Part I: A Movable Feast

1. A First Draft of William Strachey’s True Reportory 15

2. “O Brave New World” 23

3. Caliban’s Island 35

4. Amazing Storms 47

5. A Spanish Maze 54

6. Prospero’s Labyrinth 60

7. A Movable Feast 71

8. Where in the World? 85

9. An Elizabethan Tempest 96

Part II: What’s Past Is Prologue

10. A “Standard Thesis” 115

11. B to the Rescue 123

12. Who Made the Addendum? 128

13. Shortcuts Make Long Delays 134

14. William Strachey, Plagiarist 141

15. A History of Error 147

16. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt 154

17. An Eyewitness? 161

18. A “Just So” Story 185

19. The Myth of Strachey’s Influence 194

Postscript: Something Rich and Strange 199


A. Table of David Kathman’s Alleged Storm Scene Influences

with Antecedent Passages in Shakespeare 207

B. Plot and Theme Parallels Between Die Schöne Sidea and

The Tempest 215

C. Comparison of Richard Martin’s December 1610 Requests

for Information with Passages from True Reportory 216

Chapter Notes 220

Bibliography 243

Index 251

Book Reviews & Awards

“terrific…well-designed and a pleasure to read”—The Oxfordian: Annual Journal of the Shakespeare Oxford Society.