Apocryphal works

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A number of works attributed to Shakespeare in his own time and later are now not generally accepted as his. These include six plays added to the second issue (1664) of the Third Folio: The London Prodigal, Thomas, Lord Cromwell, Sir John Oldcastle, The Puritan, A Yorkshire Tragedy, and Locrine. Other plays attributed to Shakespeare in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries include The Birth of Merlin, The Merry Devil of Edmonton, Mucedorus, The Second Maiden's Tragedy, Fair Em, and Arden of Faversham. More recently, claims have been made for the lyric ‘Shall I die?’, the manuscript play Edmund Ironside, and ‘ A Funeral Elegy.’ It has been long believed that passages in the manuscript play Sir Thomas More are by Shakespeare and certain scenes in Edward III have often been attributed to him; more recently the whole of the latter play has been claimed as his. It is printed in the New Riverside edition (1997) and is to appear in the New Cambridge series.

Performances of the apocryphal plays are rare, but Arden of Faversham has been successfully staged, notably in Terry Hands's production of 1982, and is the subject of an opera (Arden Muss Sterben– Arden Must Die, 1967) by Alexander Goehr.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.

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