Not just Wil­liam af­ter all

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

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.’

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, visit www. sil­ver­stoneauc­

Fly­ing the flag: Princess Mar­garet’s 1980 Rolls-royce Sil­ver Wraith II

Dou­ble ex­po­sure: col­lab­o­ra­tors Christo­pher Mar­lowe and Wil­liam Shake­speare

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