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The Tragedy of Arthur

by Arthur Phillips

A clever novel about a 'lost' play supposedly by Shakespeare. Arthur Phillips, a convicted forger, gives the 'original' of the play to Arthur, his son, to publish. In a lengthy 'biographical' introduction to the play, which appears as part of the book, we are drawn into the puzzle of whether or not the play is genuine! It's so easy to forget that this is actually fiction and the author is playing games with the reader! Ingenious and unusual.

Extract

I have never much liked Shakespeare. I find the plays more pleasant to read than to watch, but I could do without him, up to and including this unstoppable and unfortunate book. I know that is not a very literary or learned thing to confess, but there it is. I wonder if there isn't a larger and shy population of tasteful readers who secretly agree with me. I would add that 'The Tragedy Of Arthur' is as good as most of his stuff, or as bad, and I suppose it is plausible (vocabulary, style etc) that he wrote it. Full disclosure: I state that as the party with the most money to be made in this venture.

Parallels

Art Forger by Barbara A Shapiro
Loves Labours Lost by William Shakespeare
 

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