Shakespeare and Lost Plays returns Shakespeare's dramatic work to its most immediate and (arguably) pivotal context; by situating it alongside the hundreds of plays known to Shakespeare's original audiences, but lost to us. David McInnis reassesses the value of lost plays in relation to both the companies that originally performed them, and to contemporary scholars of early modern drama. This innovative study revisits key moments in Shakespeare's career and the development of his company and, by prioritising the immense volume of information we now possess about lost plays, provides a richer, more accurate picture of dramatic activity than has hitherto been possible. By considering a variety of ways to grapple with the problem of lost, imperceptible, or ignored texts, this volume presents a methodology for working with lacunae in archival evidence and the distorting effect of Shakespeare-centric narratives, thus reinterpreting our perception of the field of early modern drama.
David McInnis (University of Melbourne)
Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:
01 July 2021
Professional and scholarly
Introduction; 1. Charting the landscape of loss; 2. Early Shakespeare: 1594-98; 3. Shakespeare at the turn of the century, 1599-1603; 4. Courting controversy: Shakespeare and the king's men, 1604-08; 5. Late Shakespeare: 1609-13; 6. Loose canons: the lost Shakespeare apocrypha; Conclusion.
David McInnis is Associate Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at the University of Melbourne. With Roslyn L. Knutson and Matthew Steggle, he founded and co-edits the Lost Plays Database. He is also co-editor of Lost Plays in Shakespeare's England (2014) and a sequel volume, Loss and the Literary Culture of Shakespeare's Time (2020). His other books include Mind-Travelling and Voyage Drama in Early Modern England (2013), Travel and Drama in Early Modern England: The Journeying Play (with Claire Jowitt, Cambridge, 2018), Tamburlaine: A Critical Reader (2020), and the Revels Plays edition of Dekker's Old Fortunatus (2020).
Reviews for Shakespeare and Lost Plays: Reimagining Drama in Early Modern England
'This is an exceptionally innovative book championing the brand new methodologies and discoveries associated with lost plays that the author and his collaborators have brought to the profession. It would be hard to think of a more groundbreaking work than this, and it will be necessary reading for all scholars of early modern drama, any cultural historians who find themselves confronting the issue of evidential loss, as well as students of these various fields.' Andy Kesson, University of Roehampton, London 'This is a well-conceived, skilfully argued, and constantly astonishing book. Its object is to insist on the importance of a study of lost plays so as better to understand the canonical plays we have been too complacent about. It will impact substantially on Shakespeare studies, on Early Modern theatre studies more widely, on authorship determination, and on more general literary and historical studies. Shakespeare and Lost Plays is an outstanding publication.' David Carnegie, Victoria University of Wellington