I have got to get back into posting general interest Shakespeare stories. Ever since the rise of social media and the “retweet” it’s too easy to see something cool and then just hit one button and call it a day. Where’s the fun in that?
Today’s story comes from Canada, where a young man bought a gift for his girlfriend. That give was the 1757 Theobald collection of Shakespeare’s Complete Works. He’d spotted it in a used book store and, because their first date had been to see a Shakespeare show, he thought it would be a nice gift to get the set and then give her the volumes one at a time at various milestones of their relationship. (Apparently my man spent $800 on the set, good work getting credit for several gifts out of it!)
Here’s the problem — it was an incomplete set. Volume 6 is missing, and he’s on the hunt for it. Really that’s nothing new, there are used book stores all over multiple continents sporting incomplete “complete works” collections. I used to go looking for them myself. But until this article it never occurred to me to actively go looking for the remaining volumes. Especially in this case, seeing as there’s just the one.
What especially caught my eye was that name, Theobald. Anybody recognize it? He’s actually got quite a history, having a bit of personal beef with Alexander Pope over the editing of Shakespeare’s work. But I spotted his name as being the guy who produced a play called Double Falshood, saying that it was a version of Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio. From what I recall of the story, Theobald basically said “Oh, yes, I have the Shakespeare originals around here somewhere, this is just the cleaned up version.” But he was never able to produce the originals.
So, does anybody happen to have a Volume 6 1757 Theobald lying around in their collection that they want to get rid of? Strangers things have happened!
Alternately, are there any Theobald scholars in the audience who want to fill in the gaps in my Theobald story?