After 10 years of literary detective work, new evidence has come to light of a lost play by William Shakespeare, called Cardenio, which had masqueraded as an 18th-century work. “It has thrills, spills, sword fights, violent sexual assault and – to modern ears – a terrible ending, but the little-known 18th century play Double Falsehood was propelled into the literary limelight today when it was claimed as a lost Shakespeare. Professor Brean Hammond of Nottingham University will publish compelling new evidence next week that the play, a romantic tragi-comedy by Lewis Theobald, is – as the author always maintained it was – substantially based on a real Shakespeare play called Cardenio. Hammond has been backed in his assertion by the Shakespeare publisher Arden and there are unconfirmed rumours that the play will open at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre in Stratford when the venue reopens after its three-year closure.” Hammond has been researching his theory for a decade. He says: “I don’t think you can ever be absolutely 100% but, yes, I am convinced that it is Shakespeare,” he said. “It’s fair to say it’s been something of an obsession. You need to ask my wife but a fair few of my waking hours have been devoted to this subject.”
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