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fair 'em

Dramatis Personae: William the Conquerer, King of England, assumes the alias of Sir Robert of Windsor; The Marquis of Lübeck; Lord Valingford; Sir Thomas Goddard; Lady Blanche; Em.

Text & Context: Attributed to Shakespeare in the library of Charles II, this play is generally believed to have little or nothing to do with Shakespeare. An undated quarto states it was sundry times plays by Lord Strange's Men, a claim which situates the play between 1589-93 at the latest.


 Edward Phillips in his Theatrum Poetarum of 1675 attributes Fair 'Em to Robert Greene. Greene himself ridiculed the play in his own Farewell to Folly, which works against the attribution. However, Greene was arguably in the process of disavowing literature - his own and others - at the time. Recent scholarship has credited Edward de Vere's secretary Anthony Munday with authorship. Style aside, some of Fair 'Em's themes - banishment, female fidelity, disguise - are seen elsewhere in Shakespeare. As such, the play may date from the early 1580s, where a loose cadre of Euphuists surrounded de Vere at his London Silexedra, Fisher's Folly.

Fair 'Em, The Miller's Daughter of Manchester

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