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Grant number: FT-61862-14

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John T. Lynch
Rutgers University, Newark (Newark, NJ 07104-3010)

The Shakespeare Phantom: The Lives of 18th-century Forger William Henry Ireland

I propose to pass 6-8 weeks in the UK to complete the research for a scholarly book, "The Shakespeare Phantom: The Lives of William Henry Ireland," the first full-dress critical biography of the late 18th-c. forger and fabulist. Ireland is the trickster figure haunting Shakespeare's afterlife. His discovery of lost masterpieces was London's cause celebre at the end of the 18th c., and his forgeries fooled some of the brightest literary minds. The Shakespeare papers and their sensational debunking are well documented, but the rest of his career--as playwright, novelist, lyricist, satirist, topographer, antiquarian, and hack, and perhaps bigamist and blackmailer--stretched for nearly forty years, and has never been studied. A comprehensive biography will pay dividends to scholars of the history of fakery, Rezeptionsgeschichte, folklore studies, vernacular scholarship, and Romantic authorship.

Project fields:
British Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2014 – 7/31/2014