lagiarism is the greatest of writerly sins. It was, at least by today’s standards, said to be present in the work of the greatest of all writers in English. A new book by Dennis McCarthy and June Schlueter, an independent researcher and a literary academic, claims to have uncovered a previously unknown source for the works of William Shakespeare. The authors believe Shakespeare was inspired by an unpublished manuscript titled A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels, written in the late 1500s by George North, a minor courtier. They base their case on the use of plagiarism-checking software.

It is well known that Shakespeare took plots and language from books including Holinshed’s Chronicles and Plutarch’s Lives. Yet in a field so extensively researched.