One of the many episodic stories within the story, this tale of love and betrayal was apparently the basis for a lost play which has often been attributed to Cervantes' contemporary William Shakespeare. The History of Cardenio has a controversial provenance - although it is listed as a collaboration between Shakespeare and his successor John Fletcher in a registry entry, it has been suggested that this was a false claim by publisher Humphrey Moseley to increase interest in the work. In 1727 Lewis Theobald presented his Double Falshood as an amalgamation of three previously undiscovered Shakespeare manuscripts - despite the central characters having different names, the play is a thinly veiled retelling of Cardenio's tale. Despite continuing scholarly uncertainty over the issue, for many the idea of the early-modern era's greatest novelist having been adapted by its greatest playwright is too good to not be true.
Online copy of Double Falshood; or, The Distrest Lovers by Lewis Theobald (1728)