Cardenio / Double Falshood : News (?)

Ok, ok, ok, Double Falshood (spell it right!) is in the news this week, what with “new” evidence to support the case that it is indeed Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio. First of all, here’s the text of the play, something I first wrote about back in May 2007.  You can also read it at Google books. Likewise, in June 2007 the Royal Shakespeare Company did a project in Spain that also played fast and loose with whether it was Double Falshood or Cardenio. Additionally, Shakespeare expert Gary Taylor came out in support of the Cardenio theory in April, 2009. So, what exactly is this week’s news

Yesterday that changed when The Arden Shakespeare, one of the best regarded scholarly editions of Shakespeare’s plays, published Double Falsehood, endorsing its credentials and making it available in a fully annotated form for the first time in 250 years.

Next summer Double Falsehood will become more embedded in the canon when the Royal Shakespeare Company mounts a production based on it as part of the first season back at its revamped Stratford-upon-Avon home.

So, there you go.  More support for the Cardenio argument, but proof?  Compelling evidence?  Who knows.

5 thoughts on “Cardenio / Double Falshood : News (?)

  1. Have you read Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell? It is a murder mystery whose plot is centered around Double Falshood/Cardenio.
    I have rather enjoyed it.

  2. Duane wrote: "More support for the Cardenio argument, but proof? Compelling evidence? Who knows."

    A way to offer something new and controversial for publication; hence, for sale? They just recently asked everyone to purchase a new collected works with 3 Lears and 3 Hamlets added.
    I realize this is "cynical". But the Cynics had the nasty habit of throwing bits of truth on the wall most of the other Greeks would rather have pretended weren't there–even when they stuck.
    Don't get me wrong, I love the Arden series above most others for their in-depth scholarship. But to endorse it as a legitimate part of the canon based upon non-conclusive evidence and "recommendations"? And as you say…Proof? "Idunno. Sherlock, whaddaya think?"

  3. Perhaps you know, JM – what process did Two Noble Kinsmen go through? That was not accepted as canon when I was growing up (as a matter of fact you can probably find a post or two in the archives about that) but from what I'm led to believe, it is now. Same type of thing, some well regarded collection like Arden was persuaded to include it?

  4. Not being an authorship buff, I can only say that like Cardenio, both Shakespeare's and John Fletcher's names appear on the Stationers Register as authors. But this is the only evidence we have. Plays were sold to booksellers who sometimes had the dubious habit of attributing more famous author's names to what became their property to do with what they wished once in possession of the play. Funny how commercialism enters into any investigation of such things.

    There is also evidence of the performance of the plays, (King's Men at Blackfriars) but Heminges and Condell didn't include either in Folio 1, and they had access to both foul papers and prompt script versions of Shakespeare's work. They also didn't include Pericles but did include Henry VIII–go figure. All of these plays have references to some sort of connection to Shakespeare and Fletcher as collaborators–but solid proof?

    In 1646 John Waterson, the stationer who owned the rights to Kinsmen along with 2 other plays, transferred his rights to Humphrey Moseley, he referred to all three plays (Pericles, Henry VIII, and Kinsmen) as the work of Fletcher.

    It was included in a collection of the works the first time by Charles Knight "Doubtful plays" (1839-43) A few others included it in their editions in the 1800s. The edition I have is G.L. Kittredge's from his "Complete Works" 1936, a 1969 edition.
    Although I speak from a position of negative authority on this subject, I think we're going through one of those "phases" with Cardenio. Really, as far as I know, the largest chunks of "proof" that can be offered for Kinsmen are similarities to scenes or characters in Shakespeare's other works, combined with somewhat doubtfully accurate single references in stationer's registers. Repetitive analyzing and comparing as a means of insistence on the existence of "proof" is the only reason I can think Kinsmen is now "accepted". But I'm also unaware of any possible "newer discovery". Heminges & Condell and F1 remain as the standards for me. But that is, again, only my "opinion".

    Sorry Duane, to spout for so long without any real "answer". 🙂
    But I think it's important to recognize the power editors can have, even in their conjecture. In some cases,they've done more to damage the reputation of Shakespeare with their "messing about" and alterations, in my opinion, than they have to advance it.

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