Shakespeare Co-Wrote 17 Plays, None with Oxford

The latest edition of the New Oxford Shakespeare will show that Shakespeare co-wrote 17 of 44 plays. 44 plays? Yes, he’s now credited with co-writing Arden of Faversham in 1592.

In other breaking news, Christopher “Kit” Marlowe did not write Shakespeare’s plays - but he did write *with *Shakespeare, all three parts of Henry VI.

Maybe now we can end the tedious conspiracy theory that Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare.

Yes, all conspiracy theories can be ended with logic and reasoning. No conspiracy theory can possibly survive a careful analysis of fact.

The myth is blown all the more up if he had a cowriter. After all, what would it matter if the playwright and poet we know as “William Shakespeare” were actually Christopher Marlowe, Edward de Vere, Francis Bacon or Seweryn Kłosowski on his birth certificate? He’d still be Shakespeare, regardless of whether he knew the tenderloin from the brisket.

That’s interesting about Arden of Faversham. I do still slightly mistrust claims of Shakespeare apocrypha. It’s just too tempting to attribute certain plays to Shakespeare ahead of fellow Elizabethan hacks. Previous software eggheads have been burnt over this very issue.

Yeah, been reading the articles. Fascinating how little we know about Shakespeare.

It’s not surprising. Theater is a collaborative art; a playwright doesn’t just sit down and write. Sections might need to be added to allow for set changes; others might need to be cut due to the logistics of production. (“The Third Murderer has smallpox; we’ll have to do without him.”)

That’s one thing the Shakespeare conspiracy people don’t understand: the playwright is in the theater as the play is being rehearsed.

The biographical facts would fit on a single sheet of paper with good margins and room for a fancy title. Everything else is inference and extrapolation… and as you say, that’s fascinating.

Or if one actor and/or his role proves especially popular, you might re-write some scenes to give him more stage time.

That’s what I have always maintained; I told students that the plays were either written by William Shakespeare, or by someone of the same name.

I think you just might be sarcastic here. Hint. So was I.