Cardenio between Cervantes and Shakespeare: The Story of a Lost Play

Cardenio between Cervantes and Shakespeare: The Story of a Lost Play

Roger Chartier


How may still we learn a textual content that doesn't exist, or current a play the manuscript of that's misplaced and the identification of whose writer can't be confirmed for certain?

Such is the enigma posed by means of Cardenio – a play played in England for the 1st time in 1612 or 1613 and attributed 40 years later to Shakespeare (and Fletcher). Its plot is that of a ‘novella’ inserted into Don Quixote, a piece that circulated through the significant international locations of Europe, the place it used to be translated and tailored for the theatre. In England, Cervantes’ novel used to be recognized and mentioned even ahead of it used to be translated in 1612 and had encouraged Cardenio.

But there's extra at stake during this enigma. This used to be a time whilst, thank you more often than not to the discovery of the printing press, there has been a proliferation of discourses. there has been usually a response while it used to be feared that this proliferation may turn into over the top, and lots of writings have been weeded out. no longer all have been destined to outlive, particularly performs for the theatre, which, in lots of situations, have been by no means released. This style, positioned on the backside of the literary hierarchy, used to be well matched to the life of ephemeral works. in spite of the fact that, if an writer turned well-known, the need for an archive of his works triggered the discovery of textual relics, the recovery of remainders ruined by way of the passing of time or, so one can fill within the gaps, every so often, even the fabrication of forgeries. Such used to be the destiny of Cardenio within the eighteenth century.

Retracing the heritage of this play hence leads one to ask yourself in regards to the prestige, long ago, of works this day judged to be canonical. during this e-book the reader will rediscover the malleability of texts, reworked as they have been by way of translations and variations, their migrations from one style to a different, and their altering meanings built by means of their numerous publics. because of Roger Chartier’s forensic talents, clean mild is forged upon the secret of a play missing a textual content yet now not an author.

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