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In addition to the thirty-six plays of the First Folio, some eighty plays have been attributed in whole or part to William Shakespeare, yet most are rarely read, performed or discussed. This book, the first to confront the implications of the 'Shakespeare Apocrypha', asks how and why these plays have historically been excluded from the canon. Innovatively combining approaches from book history, theatre history, attribution studies and canon theory, Peter Kirwan unveils the historical assumptions and principles that shaped the construction of the Shakespeare canon. Case studies treat plays such as Sir Thomas More, Edward III, Arden of Faversham, Mucedorus, Double Falsehood and A Yorkshire Tragedy, showing how the plays' contested 'Shakespearean' status has shaped their fortunes. Kirwan's book rethinks the impact of authorial canons on the treatment of anonymous and disputed plays.Read more
- Offers the first overview of the problems, questions and authorship debates in determining the Shakespeare canon
- Combines approaches from book history, theatre history and attribution studies
- Explores well-known as well as less-discussed texts
Reviews & endorsements
"In this smart and timely book, Kirwan returns Shakespeare’s apocryphal plays to their original habitat, namely, the repertory of a commercial playing company; thus relocated, the plays may be appraised as they were in their own time: on market value, not authorship."
Roslyn L. Knutson, University of Arkansas
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- Date Published: June 2019
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107479982
- length: 270 pages
- dimensions: 230 x 152 x 15 mm
- weight: 0.4kg
- contains: 5 b/w illus. 6 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Introduction: the idea of Apocrypha
1. Canonising the Apocrypha
2. The Apocrypha in rep
3. Defining 'Shakespeare'
4. Apocryphising the canon
Epilogue: an apocryphal identity
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