Lewis Theobald's double falsehood : The authorship question reconsidered

Alotaibi, Naseem
(2016) Lewis Theobald's double falsehood : The authorship question reconsidered. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

[img] Text
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB)


This thesis offers a response to the recent publication of Lewis Theobald’s Double Falshood 1 (1728) in the Arden Shakespeare series (2010). It questions Shakespeare’s involvement in Double Falsehood’s source play, and presents a number of factors suggesting that Fletcher is possibly its prime (if not its sole) author. This study also addresses other problems relating to Shakespeare’s supposed authorship of the play, including Theobald’s unreliability, which casts doubt on his claims for Shakespeare having any hand in the play: i.e., his plagiarism of other people’s work, and his obsessive imitation of Shakespeare. Because there has been to date no scholarly work dedicated to highlighting Theobald’s contributions to the play, this thesis aims to address this significant gap in scholarship. It does so by examining recent approaches to determining the authorship of Double Falsehood, highlighting the limitations of both stylometric analysis and the use of electronic databases—such as LION—in authorship studies. By identifying such limitations, and by building on recent theories in attribution scholarship, this thesis proposes a new methodology for determining the authorship of the play: one that focuses on locating much longer verbal parallels within Theobald’s other works, rather than counting the frequency of individual words to establish probable attribution. While this thesis criticises the Arden edition for its preoccupation with establishing Shakespeare-Fletcher connections to the play, it shows that the most distinctive parallels can be found in the works of Theobald, as evident in instances of three, four, five, and six consecutive-word parallels, all of which have been overlooked by the Arden editor Brean Hammond. Finally, the thesis addresses the editorial approach Hammond employs in the Arden edition of Double Falsehood, focusing on the question of the textual presentation of adaptations. An investigation of the methodology applied by John Jowett in editing Measure for Measure for the Oxford Middleton (2007) facilitates here a solution to the problem of editing adaptations, one that is not emphasised by Hammond. This approach highlights the significance of presenting the process of adaptation within the edited text itself by utilizing the text’s typography in a way that highlights the different layers of the adapted text: showing, that is, what is presumed to be the original text versus the adapted text. Such an apparatus not only highlights the elements of adaptation in the text, but it also dislocates Double Falsehood from the Shakespeare canon (which is clearly a key purpose behind the publication of the Arden edition), positioning it instead within the more accurate authorial arena of the Shakespeare Apocrypha.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Divisions: Fac of Humanities & Social Sci > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2016 12:23
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2017 01:30
URI: http://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/2008887
Repository Staff Access