A funny thing happened on the way to the Folger.
Recently I had a chance to visit the Folger Library, where I saw a Fourth Folio they had on display. Our guide was trying to remember the “other” plays that had been included in this one, and suggested that Two Noble Kinsmen was one of them. I gave a confused look and said that I thought that one hadn’t been accepted as part of the works until far more recently. After the visit I went off to do my research. (I later got clarification that I had misunderstood, and she was using Two Noble Kinsmen as an example of plays not in the First Folio – not that it had been included in the Fourth).
What’s funny is this discovery I made while doing some entirely independent research into the history of this blog. Check out the very first post I made back in June 2005:
I knew about the existence of Cardenio, which is more “lost” than “questionable”, and The Two Noble Kinsmen, which I got into an argument with my neighbor about (I lost, arguing “I have several copies of the complete works and there ain’t no Noble Kinsmen in it!”)
My recollection is fuzzy but I believe I “lost” that one because I’d been arguing that Shakespeare didn’t write it at all. I do have specific memories of when the “number of plays Shakespeare wrote” went from 37 to 38, though.
Fast forward thirteen years and I’m standing in the FOLGER FREAKING LIBRARY questioning them on the subject! I have no shame.
When I started this site I never tried to claim expertise on the subject. I know only the faintest hint of what I don’t know. These days I think I probably know more than I did then, but I still stand in awe of the good folks who do this for a living who will forever know more about it than me.