Marlowe and Shakespeare co-authored Henry VI

Oxford University Press is now crediting Christopher Marlowe as co-author of the three Henry VI plays with Shakespeare.

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Christopher Marlowe

Oxford says Shakespeare will share credit for Henry VI

Marlowe, a playwright, poet and spy, will share billing in the latest version of the New Oxford Shakespeare being published this week. While scholars have long suspected that Shakespeare’s plays included the work of others, new analytical methods helped researchers conclude that sections bore the hallmarks of Marlowe’s hand.

A team of 23 international scholars looked afresh at the man many consider the greatest writer in the English language.

Five of the world’s most senior Shakespeare scholars —Taylor, Hugh Craig at the University of Newcastle in Australia, MacDonald P. Jackson at the University of Auckland in New Zealand; Gabriel Egan at De Montfort University, Leicester and John Jowett of the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham — had to be convinced of the issues of authorship in the works.

The editors concluded that 17 of 44 works associated with Shakespeare had input from others. The scholars used computerized data sets to reveal patterns, trends and associations — analyzing not only Shakespeare’s words, but also those of his contemporaries.

To study them, the team of scholars used what Taylor described as the analytic equivalent of combining voice recognition, fingerprints and DNA testing — looking for patterns to see how various authors and playwrights wrote and worked.

“Shakespeare has now entered the world of big data,” Taylor said, adding that while the bard’s work has been studied intensively, that’s not always the case in the same measure for other writers of his generation.

“What you need is a method that treats all the writers as the same and try to identify in an empirical way what distinguishes him as a writer — what makes him different than the others,” he said.

Marlowe, born in 1564, the same year as Shakespeare, was a graduate of Cambridge University who wrote poetry and plays such as the two part “Tamburlaine” and “Dido, Queen of Carthage.” A part-time spy for the government of Queen Elizabeth I, Marlowe is believed to have died in 1593 when he was stabbed under mysterious circumstances.

Oxford University Press says that “identifying Marlowe’s hand in the Henry VI plays is just one of the fresh features of this project.”

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William Shakespeare

 

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13 Comments

  1. Ray

     /  30th October 2016

    No surprise here, there is a long history of people denying the thought that someone who didn’t go to university and was a lower class commoner could write brilliantly.
    All part of the class war in dear old pommyland.
    So no surprise that Oxford Univesity come out with this.
    Thing is when the plays were written it was by people trying to make a living, no doubt different people worked on writing or changing the works as they were staged.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  30th October 2016

      No doubt this will carry on with numerous writers suddenly credited as coauthors of all sorts of plays until someone runs the program over Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and finds that Marlowe wrote that to. Until that happy day academics will be able to fill in their days writing endless papers and earn a pat on the head from the vice-chancellor for a job well done.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  30th October 2016

      The word counting thing is true-writers can be identified this way. People do use the same words frequently, more than they realise. It’s not absolute proof, of course.

      Reply
  2. PDB

     /  30th October 2016

    ‘Academics – making up history one day at a time’……….

    Just because some of Shakespeare’s plays are ‘Marlowe-like’ doesn’t mean Marlowe was directly involved in writing them. No doubt there were many influences around that Shakespeare may have borrowed from or paid tribute to in his writings.

    Such rigid ‘analysis’ leaves no room for a writer/artist who is clever enough to reinvent themselves or incorporate new techniques during their career.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  30th October 2016

      People at the time accepted Shakespeare as the plays’ author, of course. I find it hard to imagine Marlowe being that modest and letting someone else take all the credit. I have read both and can’t see much resemblance, but haven’t, of course, read them with that in mind. Marlowe seems to me to be less readable than Shakespeare, but that’s just my opinion..

      Shakespeare didn’t go to university, but he went to a good school..it’s stale buns that his plays were written by someone else, this is just the latest .

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  30th October 2016

        I’ll bet Shakers wrote all the rude bits.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  30th October 2016

          Marlowe could be quite forthright, too, it was a forthright era. Mary, Queen of Scots, wrote of Fotheringhay Castle thar every corner was a pissing place-she found this objectionable.

          The Earl of Oxford, in bowing low to Queen Elizabeth, accidentally let out a giant fart and was so embarrassed that he took off to Europe for some years.When he came back, and met the Queen again, her first words were ‘My lord, we have forgot the fart.’

          Reply
  3. Zedd

     /  30th October 2016

    When I was in high-school (some decades ago) there were stories then, that Shakespeare did not actually ‘write anything original’ in his plays.. the line was; that he just pulled together the contents of many widely known stories & put them into settings & times that he related to ?

    I have heard since, that there are reportedly only about 10 basic ‘story-lines’ & every writer, ancient or modern just taps into them accordingly ??

    c’est la vie 😀

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  30th October 2016

      I have heard that there are seven original plots, and it’s probably true.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  30th October 2016

        Shakespeare didn’t plagiarise, he simply retold some old stories-he didn’t reuse other people’s exact words and pretend that they were his.

        In ‘O Pioneers !’ someone says that there are only three or four human stories, but they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before. That could well be true when it comes to real life.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  30th October 2016

          Only a very silly person would have claimed that stories like Pericles were original, as everyone would have known that they were not.

          Reply
  4. Zedd

     /  30th October 2016

    I think its called; part of ‘the human condition’…. :/

    Reply
  5. Klik Bate

     /  30th October 2016

    Reply

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