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The Quest for CardenioShakespeare, Fletcher, Cervantes, and the Lost Play$
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David Carnegie and Gary Taylor

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641819

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641819.001.0001

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Can Double Falsehood Be Merely a Forgery by Lewis Theobald?

Can Double Falsehood Be Merely a Forgery by Lewis Theobald?

(p.162) 8 Can Double Falsehood Be Merely a Forgery by Lewis Theobald?
The Quest for Cardenio

Richard Proudfoot

Oxford University Press

This chapter rejects the allegation, current since 1728, that Double Falsehood is Theobald’s original composition, masquerading as Shakespeare. Connection with the plays written by Shakespeare and Fletcher between c.1602 and c.1614, especially their two collaborations, Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen, is demonstrated by close examination of the 100 line-end polysyllables in the verse scenes of Double Falsehood (a quantifiable feature of versification preserved by Theobald at rates of 60% and 40% respectively in his adaptations of Shakespeare’s Richard II (1715) and Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi (as The Fatal Secret, 1735)). Theobald’s ‘falsehood’ was to make a loud and very public claim for Shakespeare as sole author of a play, putatively the ‘lost’ Cardenio, that he had good reason to believe — but (too) strenuously denied — also contained the work of Fletcher

Keywords:   forgery, adaptation, line-end polysyllables, versification, Arden Shakespeare, Fletcher, Double Falsehood, Theobald, Henry VIII, the Two Noble Kinsmen, Richard II, Duchess of Malfi, Fatal Secret

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