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Cardenio between Cervantes and Shakespeare: The Story of a Lost Play

By: Roger Chartier


Description

How should we read a text that does not exist, or present a play the manuscript of which is lost and the identity of whose author cannot be established for certain?

Such is the enigma posed by Cardenio – a play performed in England for the first time in 1612 or 1613 and attributed forty years later to Shakespeare (and Fletcher). Its plot is that of a ‘novella’ inserted into Don Quixote, a work that circulated throughout the major countries of Europe, where it was translated and adapted for the theatre. In England, Cervantes’ novel was known and cited even before it was translated in 1612 and had inspired Cardenio.

But there is more at stake in this enigma. This was a time when, thanks mainly to the invention of the printing press, there was a proliferation of discourses. There was often a reaction when it was feared that this proliferation would become excessive, and many writings were weeded out. Not all were destined to survive, in particular plays for the theatre, which, in many cases, were never published. This genre, situated at the bottom of the literary hierarchy, was well suited to the existence of ephemeral works. However, if an author became famous, the desire for an archive of his works prompted the invention of textual relics, the restoration of remainders ruined by the passing of time or, in order to fill in the gaps, in some cases, even the fabrication of forgeries. Such was the fate of Cardenio in the eighteenth century.

Retracing the history of this play therefore leads one to wonder about the status, in the past, of works today judged to be canonical. In this book the reader will rediscover the malleability of texts, transformed as they were by translations and adaptations, their migrations from one genre to another, and their changing meanings constructed by their various publics. Thanks to Roger Chartier’s forensic skills, fresh light is cast upon the mystery of a play lacking a text but not an author.

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Hardcover
Status
Available
Edition
First Edition
ISBN
9780745661841
ISBN10
074566184X
Publication Dates ROW:
Dec 2012
Publication Dates US:
Feb 2013
Publication Dates Aus & NZ:
Dec 2012


Format
237 x 160 mm
9.30 x 6.30 in
Pages
256 pages
Paperback
Status
Available
Edition
First Edition
ISBN
9780745661858
ISBN10
0745661858
Publication Dates ROW:
Dec 2012
Publication Dates US:
Feb 2013
Publication Dates Aus & NZ:
Dec 2012



Format
229 x 153 mm
9.00 x 6.00 in
Pages
256 pages
E-book
Status
Available
Edition
First Edition
ISBN
9780745683324
ISBN10
0745683320
Publication Dates ROW:
Feb 2014
Publication Dates US:
Feb 2014
Publication Dates Aus & NZ:
Feb 2014


Format
229 x 152 mm
9.02 x 5.98 in
Pages
256 pages

* Exam copies only available to lecturers for whom the book may be suitable as a course text.
Please note: Sales representation and distribution for Polity titles is provided by John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

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Reviews

"Intriguing … Chartier's elegant analysis of 'the story of a lost play' is predicated upon the disjunction between Renaissance literary production and post-Romantic ideas of authorship that obsess about the creative genius of the single author who breathes originality into a work that remains recognisably and forever, his own."
Times Higher Education

"Roger Chartier is one of our most enthralling historians of the book. Cardenio between Cervantes and Shakespeare is a brilliant investigation of elusive textual traces across borders, languages, and centuries. Chartier has written an essential case study of the pleasures and perils of cultural mobility."
Stephen Greenblatt, Harvard University

"In this magnificent new book, Roger Chartier extends cultural history into unexplored territory, a pre-modern world where texts proliferated promiscuously, crossing genres, languages, and publics in ways undreamt of today, except by writers like Borges.  Chartier challenges the notions of fixed authorship and authoritative texts in a tour of literature between Cervantes and Shakespeare that will surprise and delight readers inside and outside the Academy."
Robert Darnton, Harvard University

"The great contribution of Chartier’s book is to treat the Shakespearean and Theobaldean Cardenios as two among many versions of this story, for it seems that Cervantes’s convoluted novella caught the imaginations of readers and spectators across Europe and even in the New World."
Adrian Johns, University of Chicago

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Table of Contents

Introduction READING A TEXT THAT DOES NOT EXIST

Chapter I CARDENIO AT COURT
LONDON, 1613
Spain in England
Don Quixote in translation
Why Cardenio?
Dorotea’s story
Happy ending

Chapter II CARDENIO AND DON QUIXOTE
SPAIN, 1605-1608
Don Quixote as he is depicted in his book
Double marriages
Don Quixote ‘gracioso de comedia’
The madman, the poet and the prince
Seeming and being: an exchange of sons

Chapter III A FRENCH CARDENIO
PARIS, 1628 AND 1638
Don Quixote in France
Luscinde’s marriage
The mad fits of Cardenio
The mad fits of Don Quixote
Guérin de Bouscal: the queen of Miconmicon
The bearded dueña and the wooden horse
Novel, novellas and theatre

Chapter IV CARDENIO IN THE REVOLUTION
LONDON, 1653
Writing in collaboration. Fletcher and Shakespeare
The famous history of the life of King Henry VIII
The two noble cousins
A play never published
Don Quixote in the revolution
From Shelton to Gayton. Cardenio in verse

Chapter V CARDENIO REDISCOVERED
LONDON, 1727
The miracle of the Theatre Royal
Publishing and politics
Theobald, editor and author
Preliminaries, dedications and privilege
Theatrical enthusiasm. An authentically Shakespearean play
Editorial prudence. A play excluded from the canon

Chapter VI REPRESENTATIONS OF CARDENIO
ENGLAND, 1660-1727
Images and words. The illustrated Spanish text
The engravings of translations
Don Quixote without Cardenio. The booklets sold by peddlers
Cardenio abridged
Don Quixote in serial form
Cardenio in the theatre. First D’Urfey, then Theobald

Chapter VII CARDENIO ON STAGE
LONDON, 1727
The double betrayal
The interrupted marriage
Ruses and a denouement
1727, 1660, 1613
Double Falshood, a mystification or an adaptation?

Epilogue. CARDENIO FEVER
The manuscript recovered
How should a lost play be staged?
Cardenio published
The discrepancy between different periods

Postscript THE PERMANENCE OF WORKS AND THE PLURALITY OF TEXTS
APPENDICES
Notes
Index of names
Tables of Illustrations

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Author Information

Roger Chartier is Professor of History at the Collège de France, Directeur d'Études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania.

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