What is it about?

This paper questions that we can find out who wrote parts of Shakespeare's plays through using computer algorithms. The key method behind the claim that Christopher Marlowe co-wrote the Henry VI plays can't detect Hamlet as Shakespeare's under identical conditions. In short, we just don't have enough data for most authors of the period for the results to be reliable.

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Why is it important?

The Shakespeare canon is the foundation of Western literature, and claims about its authorship need to be considered carefully.


It's very possible that Marlowe's hand is indeed in several Shakespeare plays, but we probably can't prove it through computational stylistics, at least not with the algorithms currently developed.

Dr Ros Barber
Goldsmiths, University of London

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: OUP accepted manuscript, Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, January 2020, Oxford University Press (OUP),
DOI: 10.1093/llc/fqaa041.
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