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"Double Falsehood" (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series) (The Arden Shakespeare) Hardcover – 1 Mar 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Arden Shakespeare; 3rd Revised edition edition (1 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903436761
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903436769
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,022,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Possibly the best-loved of Shakespeare's comedies, Twelfth Night is a captivating blend of ravishing poetry, raucous antics and rapturous romance.'

'It is brilliant and unusual; the Bard's style and influence seemed irrefutable...even though there is a darker twist to the dialogue and plot than one might expect from him immediately.'
--The Observer, January 2, 2011

About the Author

Brean Hammond is Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Nottingham

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. F. Cayley on 4 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a superb edition of a largely-forgotten early 18th-century play put together by Theobald and probably based on a lost play by Shakespeare and Fletcher. The introduction investigates the origins of the play, and its contemporary reception - it was caught up in the politics of the time, with anti-government writers like Alexander Pope unfairly seeking to rubbish it. (Theobald was among the best Shakespeare scholars of his day, and had heavily - and rightly - criticised Pope's own editing of the Bard, for which Pope never forgave him.) The notes bring out how far the language is redolent of Jacobean English, with echoes in more familiar works by Shakespeare.

The play is worth reading in its own right. It contains moving language and has a powerful plot. Perhaps the weakest part is the final scene, where the happy ending comes rather too pat - but the same can be said of one or two of the plays in the established Shakespeare canon.

Other plays to which Shakespeare probably heavily contributed have recently appeared, or will appear, in the Arden Shakespeare series. This is a welcome development.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By the antiquary VINE VOICE on 6 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Blast, how slow am I to have quickly fallen for a 300 year old fraud? Like my namesake The Antiquary a ready dupe for any charlatan with a piece of muddy broken pottery and tales of auld lang syne.

The best hope that is reached for is that Double Falsehood is a 'ghost' of the lost Cardenio by Shakespeare and Fletcher (also see the 'found' Cardenio or the Second Maiden's Tragedy, rejected as false). For ghost read rip-off, forgery, (in)famous and typical 18th century meddling.

Double Falsehood, apart from sounding like a Shakespearean Bond film, and aptly named now with this revival, is such an obvious early 18th century guess of what this Shakespearean play might have been that surely no-one who actually reads it can be fooled.

Three stars stolen from me for being an interesting curiosity - but it won't be shaming the same shelf as my facsimile of the first folio. Minus 5 stars and curses to 21st century academics, who in their pseudo-scientific socio-historical-linguistics only take us further away from history and art. To Brean Hammond, out of whose interest in Pope and his enemy Theobald, rather than Shakespeare, this work seems to have sprung: 'Thy sin's not accidental but a trade'. And boils to publisher and media for getting my hopes up and failing miserably to justify the headlines.

Somebody please send for an aged philologist to flay this corpse.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an aficionado of Shakespeare myself, it would be nice to think that he wrote this. It meets all the known criteria for a Shakespeare creation and is a handy and interesting addition to the Compleat Works of Shakespeare.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. WALSH on 15 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A superb scholarly edition of Theobald's version of what may well be a lost part-Shakespearean original. Hammond makes a balanced, powerful and readable case. Excellent apparatus.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Good play, excellent edition 26 Jan. 2011
By James M. Rawley - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good play that had a successful run at Drury Lane in 1728. In the following passage, the hero comments on his mistress's coolness toward him:

I do not see that fervour in the maid
Which youth and love should kindle. She consents,
As 'twere, to feed without an appetite;
Tells me she is content and plays the coy one,
Like those that subtly make their words their ward,
Keeping address at distance. This affection
Is such a feign'd one as will break untouched;
Die frosty ere it can be thawed; while mine,
Like to a clime beneath Hyperion's eye,
Burns with one constant heat.

If you like that, you'll probably like the show. Other reviewers have said the play is plainly not Shakespeare's. That's true. The theory is that Shakespeare and Fletcher did a play together, Fletcher doing most of the work, as in their other collaborations, THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN and HENRY VIII. Later, that play was rewritten by Theobald, as he himself said. An excellent introduction of more than 100 pages lays out the whole theory and resulting modern controversy.

In other words, this play is an interesting find. It has become popular recently because many lines in it may be rewritten -- or even, possibly, untouched -- Shakespeare. But it's a good play in any case. Reviewers who say it's not are, I think, overly disappointed in its not seeming more Shakespearean than it does. Theobald, who did the rewrite, is one of England's first Shakespeare scholars, arguably the very first to take a modern approach to Shakespeare editing. That sound like reading a play by him would be fun, too. And it is.

Here's another passage. The hero's girl friend has said he should stop courting her, because his own father might not like her, and so be against her marrying his son. He replies,

O do not rack me with these ill-placed doubts,
Nor think though age has in my father's breast
Put out love's flame, he therefore has not eyes,
Or is in judgement blind. You wrong your beauties.
Venus will frown if you disprize her gifts
That have a face would make a frozen hermit
Leap from his cell and burn his beads to kiss it,
Eyes, that are nothing but continual births
Of new desires in those that view their beams.
You cannot have a cause to doubt.

The notes on this passage go thoroughly into how much seems to come from 1728 and how much resembles some of Shakespeare's phrasing. It's a game anyone can play and no one can win, but in any case the passage, I think, is charming.

I like the idea of reading a good, successful play from 1728 with four notes a page covering, among other things, how many passages might be rewritten Shakespeare or rewritten Fletcher, and how many are 1728 business as usual. I'm puzzled at anyone who would give such a pleasant read one star because it appears in the Arden Shakespeare. It's good stuff no matter where it appears.
half a dollar is better than no money at all 11 April 2015
By StackedAktor - Published on
Format: Paperback
It's just one man's opinion, but I do think there is some legit Shakespeare here, especially the first half of the play. Yes, it's watered down and edited a hundred years after the fact, but the seed is buried here.

To me, half a dollar is better than no money at all. Well worth checking out!

PS- the story itself is very intriguing: echoes of Comedy of Errors abound. It held my interest all the way to the end.
Five Stars 11 April 2015
By PhilW - Published on
Here's Sky News on the modern professional première
23 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Shame on Arden 20 May 2010
By Constance Slings-Arrows - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the sort of thing one expects from self-publishers or fringe outposts of literature, not from a highly-esteemed publisher of Shakespeare's plays. One would think Arden might have learned the lesson of recent years when two major American Shakespeare publishers included a "new" Shakespeare poem in their competing editions, only to remove it when it was found to be bogus.What is so shocking about this latest effort is that its foundation for authenticity is so pathetic. Back in the 18th century, a play was put on that was based on two manuscripts from Shakespeare's day. Conveniently,the perpetrator of this 'discovery' could not produce the manuscripts.
Compounding the felony, Arden seeks to have it both ways: The introduction is sticky with cautionary qualifiers, but the cover leaves no doubt this is play is indeed part of the Arden Shakespeare series. And, by the way, the play is without a doubt one of the worst plays you'll ever read. Clumsy, wooden, dumb and just plain awful. Stupid move, Arden.
20 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes a rose by any other name IS NOT a rose! 18 May 2010
By Todd Bartholomew - Published on
Format: Hardcover
What led Arden Shakespeare to put out "Double Falsehood" is open to conjecture. Perhaps they genuinely wanted to spur discussion about this allegedly "new" Shakespeare play. Perhaps less charitably they simply wanted to cash in off of the controversy. But reading this dreadfully horrible prose I found myself thinking how many other businesses or brands such as Arden have come to disaster simply attempting to cash in on controversy and trends, only to find their good names demolished beyond repair. One read of "Double Falsehood" is enough to convince anyone even mildly familiar with Shakespeare that this is decidedly NOT to work of the immortal bard, but the trite clichéd work of a hack. That Arden Shakespeare, which has a great reputation within literary circles would opt to publish it is even more troubling and bizarre. Even with the lengthy introduction discussing the various arguments over whether "Double Falsehood" genuinely is Shakespeare or not the entire publication begs the question of why Arden should publish it in the first place. Isn't this a bit like the Hitler Diaries Hoax, or other Shakespeare hoaxes like the equally dreadful "Funeral Elegy" from a decade ago? The fact that neither "Double Falsehood" or for that matter "Funeral Elegy" were never performed in Shakespeare's time should alone tell you they were not from the hand of the bard, or failing that so desperately awful he never wanted them to see the light of day. Ultimately the question isn't who wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare, but that they exist and how wonderful they are. Can you really compare Othello or Hamlet to these two bits of piffle?

I hate to even ask people to read and compare "Double Falsehood" with previous Shakespeare as that would mean you would have to buy this book and I hate to see Arden rewarded for their willingness to diminish their own stature and that of Shakespeare. Suffice to say it is crap and no amount of spin or arguments in favor of it coming from the bard, however specious, can change the fact it is utter rubbish. A close reading of "Double Falsehood" with any other Shakespeare should confirm that on every level there are no similarities between the two. Shame on Arden for perpetrating this fraud!
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