Strange truths
The Stanleys of Derby on the English Renaissance stage
in Shakespeare’s histories and counter-histories
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The 'strange truth' of Perkin Warbeck, seems to the author to be twofold. Firstly, it offers an exculpation of the Stanleys in general. Secondly, it provides a palliation of an event which it presents as analogous to Sir William Stanley's betrayal and his subsequent plot to secure the succession of his cousin, Lord Strange. Lord Strange is not the only member of the family who finds himself represented or alluded to on the English stage. The author also considers various Earls of Derby, at least one Sir Edward Stanley and two separate bearers of the name Sir William Stanley. Richard III is the only William Shakespeare play where the word 'strange' never occurs at all, because it would have embarrassed the Stanley family to mention that name in connection with the succession to the Crown and the replacement of one dynasty by another.


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