An Interlude or Mystery Play by William Ireland, 1795


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The story of the young William Ireland's provocative Shakespearean forgeries, which culminated in the production of the pseudo-Shakespearean Vortigern at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on April 2, 1796, has often been told. He gave his father (to impress and please him) his first Shakespearean forgery, a lease signed by Shakespeare, on December 16, 1794, and from then until mid-1796, when he confessed to his deeds, he "lived under continual pressure, working furtively at great speed whilst maintaining a pretence of his ordinary casualness, terrified by recurring fears of exposure, and exalted to extravagant conceit by the praises of the great and distinguished."1 He did not confine himself to purely Shakespearean work. Some time before April 26, 1795, while he was still producing Shakespearean material, he also found time to write an unfinished mystery play, "The Divill and Rychard."

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