Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University
In May 1613, John Heminges, in charge of the King’s Men, was paid by the Privy Council for presenting six plays at court, including Cardenno. Also in 1613 he presented a performance of Cardenna before the Duke of Savoy’s ambassador. A London publisher in September 1653 entered a few plays in the Stationers’ Register which included “The History of Cardenio, by Mr Fletcher and Shakespeare.” In 1728, Lewis Theobald published a tragicomic play called Double Falsehood, “revised and adapted” from a play “written originally by W. Shakespeare.” An 1808 fire at the Covent Garden Playhouse destroyed the theater and its library, and, it seems, Theobald’s manuscript copies of the supposed Shakespeare, or Shakespeare and Fletcher, play.
Cardenio is a character appearing in Cervantes’ Don Quixote, published in English in 1612. Theobald’s character names and the story are slightly different.
Recently, an attempt has been made to identify the anonymous Second Maiden’s Tragedy as the “lost” Cardenio. If so, we can scrap this play from the index of non-canonical Shakespeare.