Wed, 1 August 2012
What are the Shakespeare Apocrypha? And how do we explain the close ties between some of these plays and the works universally accepted as Shakespeare’s? Dramas like Locrine, The London Prodigall, the superhit Mucedorus, and others were attributed to William Shakespeare during the 17th century, in several cases during the Stratford man’s lifetime.
In this episode, Allan Armstrong interviews Dr. Sabrina Feldman, author of The Apocryphal William Shakespeare, to discover the story behind these intriguing but nearly-forgotten plays that have been kicked out of the Shakespeare Canon. Once renowned crowd-pleasers, works like The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, Fair Em, and The Troublesome Reign of King John now exist on the fringes of early modern drama. Scholars have largely ignored these works because they are considered vastly inferior to the accepted Shakespeare plays. Yet many were published with William Shakespeare’s name or initials on their title pages, and a half-dozen of them were included in the 1664 Third Folio of Shakespeare’s works.
In this podcast, we’ll hear excerpts from these plays that provide a taste of the distinctive and highly entertaining qualities that made them wildly popular in Elizabethan and Jacobean England.