n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - 's three Rs : revision, rape and rank in Shakespeare and Fletcher's 'lost play'

Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-582X



is a play with a fraught history ever since Lewis Theobald claimed his tragicomedy (1727) to be a revised version of this Jacobean drama apparently written by Shakespeare. Possibly one of the three manuscripts that Theobald adapts in the early eighteenth century is the same one that Humphrey Moseley, a publisher and bookseller, records in the Stationer's Register in 1653 as , although Moseley names the authors of this text as both Shakespeare and Fletcher. Maybe Moseley's manuscript is the same one that the King's Treasurer's records refer to when documenting payments to Shakespeare's company, the King's Men, for performing a play entitled in May and then in July of 1613. Without an original - that is, at least a copy of one of the manuscripts that Theobald uses for - the earlier historical references only tantalise literary critics, historians and theatre impresarios, and generate a surprising amount of speculative heat. As Roger Chartier most recently recognises in his , "the absence of any 'Ur-text' does away with the constraints that ordinarily limit textual variations and material incarnations of the 'same' work", which turns into a "unique laboratory" for "textual experiments" (180).

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