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Grant number: FB-57877-15

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Jack Lynch
Rutgers University, Newark (Newark, NJ 07104-3010)

The Shakespeare Phantom: The Lives of William Henry Ireland, Late 18th-Century Forger and Fabulist

"The Shakespeare Phantom: The Lives of William Henry Ireland" will be the first full-dress critical biography of the late eighteenth-century forger and fabulist, and will encourage Shakespeareans and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century specialists to rethink critical commonplaces about authenticity, genius, and the shape of the poetic career. W. H. Ireland is the trickster figure haunting Shakespeare's afterlife. His "discovery" of lost Shakespearean masterpieces, including the notorious Vortigern and Rowena, was London's cause celebre at the end of the eighteenth century, and his forgeries fooled some of the brightest literary minds. A comprehensive biography will pay dividends not only to scholars of fakery but also to those in Shakespeare Rezeptionsgeschichte, the history of folklore studies and vernacular scholarship, Romantic authorship, and book history.

Project fields:
British Literature

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 6/30/2016