Book chapter

Canon - apocrypha

ContributorsAuld, Aleida
PublisherLondon : Bloomsbury
  • Arden Shakespeare
Publication date2021

Every edition of Shakespeare's works imprints a canon. Defined materially, the boundary between canon and apocrypha might seem as open and shut as the book itself. This chapter complicates that distinction by drawing on eighteenth-century editions of Shakespeare's plays and poems, and more recent editions of his works. It argues that the poems in the early eighteenth century do not fit squarely into Shakespeare's 'canon' or 'apocrypha', but were instead variously and sometimes contradictorily treated by publishers, editors, and book buyers. A key example is the editor Charles Gildon who, in his edition of the poetic Works, offered unprecedented editorial guidance to Shakespeare's oeuvre, but elsewhere consistently elevated the plays while neglecting the poems. To navigate such engagement by Gildon and others, this chapter conceptualizes 'elective', 'integrated', and 'selective' canons. In the present day, these canons persist alongside recent interest in an 'attributed' canon, that is, works that are (probably) not by Shakespeare, but which readers may have believed to have been so. With Shakespeare alongside 'Shakespeare', the boundaries between canon and apocrypha blur within editions, as well as across them.

  • Canon
  • Apocrypha
  • Shakespeare
  • Charles Gildon
  • Lewis Theobald
Citation (ISO format)
AULD, Aleida. Canon - apocrypha. In: Shakespeare - text : contemporary readings in textual studies, editing and performance. London : Bloomsbury, 2021. p. 102–120. (Arden Shakespeare)
Main files (1)
Book chapter (Published version)
  • PID : unige:155063

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