Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

"This orphan play": Cardenio and the construction of the author

Meek, Richard; Rickard, Jane


Profile Image

Dr Richard Meek
Lecturer / Programme Director for the MA in English

Jane Rickard


Critical and popular interest in Cardenio/Double Falsehood has focused largely on Shakespeare. Through a combination of Anglocentrism and Shakespeare-centrism, Shakespeare's collaborator, John Fletcher, and the Spanish author of their source, Miguel de Cervantes, have been largely excluded from the discussion. This process of exclusion may seem to begin with Lewis Theobald, but in a sense this process begins with the works of these early modern writers themselves. For what we find in Don Quixote, in Cardenio as far as we can glimpse its traces in the pages of Double Falsehood, and in other collaborative works by Shakespeare and Fletcher, is a striking concern with the idea of the singular author. This article examines the representation of authorship within works by Shakespeare, Fletcher and Cervantes, in the context of the textual history of Cardenio/Double Falsehood and the critical debates it has generated. It argues that these writers all in different ways contributed to the lack of visibility of the processes of both collaboration and intercultural exchange, and thus to subsequent constructions within Anglophone culture of "Shakespeare" as transcendent genius and autonomous author.


Meek, R., & Rickard, J. (2011). "This orphan play": Cardenio and the construction of the author. Shakespeare, 7(3), 269-283.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 15, 2011
Online Publication Date Sep 20, 2011
Publication Date 2011-09
Journal Shakespeare
Print ISSN 1745-0918
Electronic ISSN 1745-0926
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 3
Pages 269-283
Keywords Shakespeare; John Fletcher; Miguel de Cervantes; Lewis Theobald; Cardenio; Double falsehood; Don Quixote; Authorship; Collaboration
Public URL