The Tragedy of Arthur

Arthur Phillips

The Tragedy of Arthur
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The Tragedy of Arthur

Arthur Phillips

Duckworth are proud to present this first modern edition of The Tragedy of Arthur by William Shakespeare. The long-lost play surfaces in Phillips’s new novel, a sublime faux memoir framed as the introduction to the play’s first printing. Arthur and his twin sister, Dana, maintained an unusual relationship with their gregarious father, a forger whose passion for the bard and for creating magic in the everyday (he takes his children to make crop circles one night) leave lasting impressions on them both: Dana becomes a stage actress and amateur Shakespeare expert; Arthur a writer who ‘never much liked Shakespeare.’ Their father spends most of their lives in prison, but when he’s about to be released as a frail old man, he enlists Arthur in securing the publication of The Tragedy of Arthur from an original quarto he claims to have purloined from a an estate decades earlier, though, as the authentication process wears on - successfully – Arthur becomes convinced that the play is his father’s greatest scam…Along the way, Arthur revisits his career and excruciatingly unpacks his relationship with Dana and his own romantic failings. Then there is the play itself, which reads very like something written by the man from Stratford-upon-Avon - a feat of real-life forgery brilliantly carried off. Hilarious and haunting, this virtuosic novel - which includes Shakespeare’s(?) lost King Arthur play in its five-act entirety - captures the very essence of romantic and familial love and betrayal.

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