Category:Duplicate plays

The category, "duplicate plays," covers titles that appear to share narratives and genre. An example among extant plays is theThe Famous Victories of Henry V (author unknown; provenance: the Queen's men) and the trilogy on Prince Hal/King Henry V by Shakespeare (1H4, 2H4, H5). Another category of plays that appear to be duplicates are those in records such as Philip Henslowe's memorandum book (or "diary") with variant titles in proximate or entangled runs such as the set in October and November of 1594 that includes "The Love of a Grecian Lady," "The Venetian Comedy," "The Love of an English Lady," and "The Grecian Comedy."

Edmond Malone, John Payne Collier, and F. G. Fleay established the habit among pre-twentieth-century theater historians of assuming that plays now lost were the same as (or were the foundation for) extant plays on the same subject. Lost plays were thus routinely lumped together with extant (or other lost) plays as identical or variant texts. For example, the "Oldcastle" performed by the Chamberlain's men in 1600 was lumped with Shakespeare's 1H4 because the character of Falstaff was believed to have been well known as "Oldcastle." Similarly, theater historians lumped "Longshanks" with George Peele's Edward I, "Mahomet" and "Muly Molocco" with Peele's The Battle of Alcazar, "Dido" with Christopher Marlowe's Dido Queen of Carthage, and "The Wise Man of West Chester" with Anthony Munday's John a Kent and John a Cumber. Greg II and Chambers, ES continued the practice but also resisted the wholesale erasure of lost plays as discrete theatrical pieces. The trend away from lumping has continued among current theater historians.

It is the policy of the Lost Plays Database to separate lost plays from plausibly duplicate extant plays unless compelling evidence requires that they be lumped together as the same (or variant versions of the same) play.