(Dalya Alberge’s article appeared in the Observer, 10/12.)
The hand of William Shakespeare has been identified in scenes or passages in three Elizabethan plays previously believed to have been written by others, following linguistic "fingerprinting" tests and other new research.
Arden of Faversham, The Spanish Tragedy and Mucedorus will now be included in a major edition of collaborative plays bearing the Bard's name. Jonathan Bate, a renowned Shakespeare scholar, said the evidence has convinced him that specific parts within those plays must have had input from Shakespeare.
The three plays will be included in the edition which he is co-editing with other scholars in a collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company and Palgrave Macmillan. Plays known as the "Shakespeare Apocrypha" have long intrigued scholars, with claims and counter-claims over whether he could have written dramas beyond the 36 in the First Folio, the edition put together by his fellow actors after his death. Arguments over plays beyond the "authorised" collection have raged since the 18th century. The strengthened evidence will be outlined in the book, William Shakespeare and Others: Collaborative Plays, to be published on 28 October.