From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Cardenio is a lost play, known to have been performed by The King's Men, a troupe of London actors, in 1613. It is believed to have been written by William Shakespeare, probably in collaboration with John Fletcher. The play was thought to have been lost with the burning of the Globe Theatre in 1613.
The content of the play is not known, and only one song survives. However, it is likely based on incidents in Don Quixote, of which the 1612 translation by John Shelton would have been available to the authors. Fletcher is known to have enjoyed Cervantes's work.
In 1727, Lewis Theobald claimed to have manuscripts of the play, which he edited, "improved", and released under the name Double Falsehood. Allegedly, the original manuscripts were used by Theobold's cook as baking sheets.
In 1990, Charles Hamilton, a handwriting expert, after seeing a 1611 manuscript known as The Second Maiden's Tragegy, usually attributed to Thomas Middleton, identified it as the missing Cardenio with names changed. This attribution is not generally accepted by Shakespearian experts.
Neither Double Falsehood nor The Second Maiden's Tragedy would rank among the more important works of Shakespeare, if they had been written by him.