All entries for Sunday 31 May 2009

May 31, 2009

Apocrypha – an earlier mention

Interesting discovery the other day. I've been working for some time under the belief that C.F. Tucker Brooke was the first person to call the disputed plays attributed to Shakespeare "The Apocrypha". However, I was at the Shakespeare Centre Library on Thursday going through Charles Knight's volume on the plays in his multi-volume collected works. While his terming for the group of plays is 'Plays Ascribed to Shakspere', he does, in the course of discussion, refer to them as "apocryphal plays".

This is a bit of a surprise, and will occasion a bit of re-working on my part. I'd based part of my discussion of Brooke's edition around his introduction of the term 'apocrypha', and yet here it is, appearing over sixty years earlier in a major edition of Shakespeare.

The core of my argument isn't spoiled, as the primary point is the titling of the collection, rather than the association with the word. However, it epitomises some of the frustrations of the kind of work I'm doing. Every time you think you've got something settled, another bit of historical documentation comes up which moves the goalposts again. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to be editing this overview right up until my final submission deadline.....


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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