"unrealistic versions of Shakespeare's lost work, Cardenio"

The tantalising thought of finding a lost Shakespearean play has inspired years of research and detective work, not to mention literary hoaxes. Records of Cardenio being performed in 1613 by The Kings Men exist but the plot remains controversial. Since the 18th Century, various stories of it resurfacing, or being remodelled into different plays have added to its mystery. In 1727 Lewis Theobald released an edition that he had revised under the name “The Double Falsehood”. He claimed to have worked from original manuscripts, but was secretive about their whereabouts.

Shakespeares works
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumShakespeares works - Credit: Shannon Hampton

In 1990 Cardenio emerged as part of the play, “The Second Handmaiden’s Tradgedy” when Charles Hamiliton, a handwriting expert, identified it despite name changes.  The debate continues to receive media attention. Various newspapers reported in 2010 that University of Nottingham Professor, Brean Hammond, believes that “Double Falsehood” may indeed be based on the missing Cardenio, and he would know, having been investigating it since 2002. Jasper Fforde’s “Lost in the Good Book” delves into this mystery further and maybe Thursday Next is just the person to solve it.