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Yesterday, I asked a question about the relationship between the Ur-Hamlet and Fratricide Punished / Der bestrafte Brudermord. The Wikipedia page about Fratricide Punished says that the play was first published in its entirety in 1781 even though it may have been written as early as 1586. However, at some point after 1781, the only extant manuscript of the play was lost, so all later editions of the play are based on the first print edition rather than the manuscript.

What I could not find in the Wikipedia article nor elsewhere is how and when the manuscript was lost. Was it lost in a fire? Was it stolen? Who was the last known owner after it had appeared in print?

  • Some manuscripts are preserved due to their age or respect for their association, but like all old things they have a distressing tendency to be lost for many reasons: theft, willful destruction, carelessness. Sometimes it is difficult for anyone but an expert to tell the difference between random scribblings & a valuable document in an archaic script. – llywrch Sep 8 at 15:31
  • @llywrch In some cases, we actually know how texts were lost. For example, Ben Jonson lost many of his books in a fire. For manuscripts that were lost much more recently, especially in an era when awareness about editing texts to reconstruct a "clean version", I was hoping that something would be know about what happened to the text of "Der bestrafte Brudermord". – Tsundoku Sep 8 at 18:51

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