Not just William after all
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE is to be credited as co-author on three of Shakespeare’s plays after an international team of experts found his contribution to be far more important than previously thought. The Elizabethan playwright-rivals will appear together on the title pages of the three Henry VI plays in a new edition of the Bard’s works to be published by Oxford University Press.
It has long been thought that the Henry VI plays are the work of more than one author and speculation over Marlowe’s authorship stretches back to the 18th century, but it is only today, with the latest text-analysis tools—investigating the frequency of certain words in a certain order, for example—that researchers are able to confirm their suspicions.
‘No one has had the confidence to put the name actually on the title page… the only reason that we can do it now is because Shakespeare has entered the world of big data,’ explains Gary Taylor, the edition’s editor.
Mr Taylor goes on to explain that the exact nature of the collaboration isn’t clear, comparing the writing process Elizabethan plays 1980 Rolls-royce Silver Wraith II and Diana, Princess of Wales’s Audi convertible, as well as Sir Elton John’s Rolls-royce Phantom and a 1972 Fiat 500L, which David Cameron once bought as a (presumably unpopular) birthday present for his wife, Samantha.
‘I didn’t mean to collect cars on a royal theme—it was quite accidental,’ explains Mr Lillicrap. ‘They’re irreplaceable and I’ll be very sad to part with them.’
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Flying the flag: Princess Margaret’s 1980 Rolls-royce Silver Wraith II
Double exposure: collaborators Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare