We continue our 3-panel play journey through Shakespeare's "apocrypha" with a closer look at Shakespeare's infamous lost play, Cardenio!
GET IT? BECAUSE IT'S LOST? HAHAHAHAHA I AM SO FUNNY
...ahem. But seriously, folks...
Cardenio, based off an episode from Miguel Cervantes's novel Don Quixote, is a lost play attributed to Shakespeare and his frequent collaborator John Fletcher. It is "lost" because, while we have a record of its existence and performance, it does not exist in manuscript or published form.
In the 18th century, editor Lewis Theobald claimed to have come into possession of several manuscripts of a hitherto unknown Shakespeare play, which he edited into Double Falsehood. The manuscripts he used have mysteriously disappeared. It's impossible to say if Double Falsehood is, indeed, Cardenio, but it seems to be as close as we're going to get to the lost play.
If you really want to know what happened to Cardenio, you should read Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde. I can't recommend Fforde's Thursday Next series of books enough, by the way. Lots of Shakespeare and literary in-jokes wrapped up in a totally surreal universe.