The New York Times reported on the recent work of Dennis McCarthy, a scholar who used plagiarism software to reveal a new source of inspiration for some of Shakespeare's plays.
This type of software is normally used for analyzing strings of words or phrases in student papers to find out whether they may have copied someone else's work.
In this case, the software revealed that some of Shakespeare's plays contained unusual words, several words in succession, or phrases from A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels written by George North in 1576.
While Shakespeare didn't copy North wholesale, he did incorporate some of North's ideas into his work. This interests McCarthy because he wants to know more about how literary ideas spread.
For more on Shakespeare and his plays, take a look in the library Stacks (upstairs in the library) starting at PR 2700.
To learn more about what defines plagiarism and how to avoid it in your own work, take a look at our Citing Sources page.