All entries for Wednesday 07 January 2009

January 07, 2009

Which Charles?!

One frustration I'm having at the moment is with an extremely simple piece of historical information.

The plays Mucedorus, The Merry Devil of Edmonton and Fair Em were bound together in a single volume entitled "Shakespeare Vol. 1", belonging to the library of a monarch. This edition is mentioned by most critics working on the apocrypha at some point, as it's the basis of the attribution of those plays to Shakespeare.

However, presumably through carelessness or through some more fundamental piece of misinformation, I keep finding different accounts as to WHOSE library it was in - Charles I or Charles II? It's obviously a very easy mistake to make, and irritatingly the ownership of the edition is rarely examined in any detail, the monarch is mentioned simply as an identifier.

So, which is it? Charles I or Charles II? Or was it both, remaining in the library of the father until the son took power? It's hard to know who to trust. I've changed it several times in my writing: every time I write down one name, I then find another article which says the reverse and I assume it's my error. I've now established, though, that there are actually several critics saying each thing.

Suggestions and clarifications most welcome!


I’m Peter Kirwan, a final year doctoral student in the English Department at Warwick, and this is my PhD blog.

Conferences, reviews, articles, thoughts and links relating to my interests in the Shakespeare apocrypha, early modern drama, authorship and performance.

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