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Shakespeare’s Apocrypha Illustrated

April 23rd, 2013 · 4 Comments

Today is Shakespeare’s birthday, maybe; the exact date is uncertain.  But it’s a good uncertain date to appreciate that Stratfordian ullage, Shakespeare’s apocrypha.

Although the canonical plays have long inspired artists, the apocrypha have been largely unillustrated.  Many of them are perfectly fine plays, but suffer that curious stigma of being once ascribed but now rejected.

Fortunately, a staunch Victorian edition, The Pictorial Edition of the Works of Shakespere, gave space to the doubtful and attributed plays, and supplied characteristic engravings.  Note the spelling “Shakespere”: fashions change.  Pericles, The Two Noble Kinsmen, and Titus Andronicus were classed as doubtful in this collection; perhaps future scholars, using criteria now unthinkable to us, will smile upon The Merry Devil of Edmonton.

Fourteen of the apocryphal plays were illustrated; here are seven:








(Posted by Doug Skinner)


Tags: Liminal Graphics · Literature

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Win // Apr 25, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Looks like George A-Greene’s tailor is explaining what a codpiece is.

  • 2 Win // Apr 26, 2013 at 1:04 am

    BTW, in 1616 England was still on the Julian calendar; April 23 Julian is now May 3 Gregorian.

  • 3 Doug // Apr 26, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    You’re free to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday on May 3, if that speaks to you. If you do, I hope you’ll be consistent, and dance around the maypole on the 11th.

  • 4 Win // Apr 26, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Chronic procrastinators like me always dance around the maypole on the 11th. Though I will admit I was extremely punctual in dancing round the room the day Margaret Thatcher became inert.

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