All entries for Monday 05 April 2010

April 05, 2010

Shakespeare, Computers and the Mystery of Authorship

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I've just reviewed this new volume for the journal Early Theatre, so I won't repeat myself here. It's of substantial interest to this blog, however, to note the results that Hugh Craig and Arthur F. Kinney's stylistic tests have come up with.

Arden of Faversham: the middle third of this anonymous play is shown to be substantially by SHAKESPEARE.

The Spanish Tragedy: the additions to the 1602 edition of Thomas Kyd's play are shown to be by SHAKESPEARE.

1 and 2 Henry VI: while these two plays are both partly written by SHAKESPEARE, the scenes involving Joan la Pucelle and Jack Cade are shown to be by MARLOWE.

Edmond Ironside: this anonymous play can be attributed to NO KNOWN DRAMATIST.

King Lear: the revised version of the play from the 1623 Folio is proven to be by SHAKESPEARE.

Sir Thomas More (Hand D Addition): the case for this addition being by SHAKESPEARE is strengthened.

Edward III: a substantial part of the play is affirmed to be by SHAKESPEARE, while the rest is by NO KNOWN DRAMATIST (refuting recent cases for Marlowe and Kyd).

If these results are to be accepted (in a nutshell, I think their statistics are incomplete but persuasive, and further testing is definitely needed), then not only is the extended canon given further support, but the case for Arden of Faversham will be very much brought back into the spotlight. Whether or not their conclusions regarding Spanish Tragedy will gather support is another matter: but, I'm certainly not convinced that they can be ignored.


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I’m Peter Kirwan, a final year doctoral student in the English Department at Warwick, and this is my PhD blog.


Conferences, reviews, articles, thoughts and links relating to my interests in the Shakespeare apocrypha, early modern drama, authorship and performance.

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