The Origins of Sycorax


"you taught me language and my profit on't is..."

homethe originlong versionshorter versionlinks, postings, etc.


In 2003, while researching the origins of that packet of prose we now call “the essay”, I stumbled upon the name Corax of Syracuse, the supposed founder of the art of rhetoric. Having just taught “The Tempest”, the name Sycorax was still fresh in my mind. All of a sudden, the syllables slipped a bit and I realized I had quite possibly (and inadvertently) discovered the origin of that baffling name in "The Tempest" – Sycorax. It took a year for me to gather enough data to convince myself (and a number of scholars -- George Kennedy, Keith Sagar, Stephen Orgel, and others) that my original guess was at least plausible.

A history of how and when I first came up with this idea and the scholars and editors with whom I shared this idea in 2003 and 2004 can be found on the "Origins" page. The essay itself can be found in its longer 2003 version and shorter 2006 version on other pages of this site.

I also include a "links and postings" page which includes some interesting and controversial feedback from various sources. (This page is currently under construction...)

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2006 Dan Harder. You may use this material WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGMENT.

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Long live the free -- and properly acknowledged -- flow of ideas. Evolution stops without it.