Documents of Shakespearean Performance: Stage, Page, and Manuscript in Early Modern England

14 January 2013, 17:30 - 19:00

Event Type:
Room 234 (Senate House)
Venue Details:

Senate House 
Malet Street 
London WC1E 7HU


Dr. Peter Kirwan (University of Nottingham): 'Gathering Shakespeare: Consolidating the Apocrypha'

From the middle of the seventeenth century, a disparate group of early modern plays began to appear together in collections with increasingly regularity, their gathering justified only by the plays’ dubious associations with the name of Shakespeare. As a result, much modern scholarship continues to treat the plays of the ‘Shakespeare Apocrypha’ as a relatively homogeneous group, subject to the same narratives of piracy, forgery, accident or authorship despite their heterogeneous origins. This paper separates out the genuinely unifying features of the early disputed plays from their specific, unique aspects, and in doing so challenges the presumptions of standardised practices that govern Apocrypha-formation narratives.

Engaging with the form and purpose of early collections of disputed plays, the paper suggests new ways for reading the Apocrypha within print culture.