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Some of Shakespeare's Plays Officially Have a Co-Author

An upcoming collection for Oxford University Press credits Marlowe with collaborating on Shakespeare's 'Henry VI' plays.

by Lauren Messman
Oct 24 2016, 7:03pm

Painting of Christopher Marlowe via Wikipedia

A group of scholars tasked with editing a new collection of William Shakespeare's work has decided to give playwright Christopher Marlowe a co-author credit for Shakespeare's Henry VI plays, the Associated Press reports.

While we already know that Shakespeare was probably a stoner, the legitimacy of his authorship remains somewhat of a long-running conspiracy theory. Some believe the playwright had to have collaborated with a small group of talented writers, while others believe his works were penned by someone else entirely.

In preparation for the new Oxford University Press collection, four top scholars wanted to investigate how much collaboration actually went into some of his plays by using computerized data sets. After analyzing the similarities between Shakespeare's work and the work of his contemporaries, the researchers found that his Henry VI plays contained uncanny similarities to the work of Marlowe, another 16th-century British playwright and poet, and determined that Marlowe must have helped Shakespeare pen at least some of his famous plays.

"Shakespeare, like other geniuses, recognized the value of other people," Gary Taylor, the lead investigator from Florida State University, told the AP. "What is Shakespeare famous for? Writing dialogue—interactions between two people. You would expect in his life there would be dialogue with other people."

You can checkout Shakespeare's—and Marlowe's—new collection, along with an accompanying book from the scholars about their research, this November.

Read: Some Professor Thinks He's Proven That Shakespeare Was a Stoner