The WSJ looks at great works of literature we have somehow misplaced. I suspect my novel is in there somewhere. I’ve been looking for it for 10 years. It’s like the car keys or the phone. Always in the room I’m not.
While it may seem inconceivable to us that the smallest scraps of Shakespeare’s genius would fail to be preserved like holy relics, oblivion was not an uncommon ending for plays of the early 17th century. Shakespeare’s “Pericles” exists only in a lousy quarto, which is so badly transcribed scholars assume it was done by someone jotting down the script from memory after having seen the show (the early modern equivalent of the grainy pirated videos you can buy on the subway). Like most dramatists of the period, Shakespeare didn’t care about his plays after their performances, made no effort to publish them and received no money from their publication.