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The New Oxford Shakespeare reveals the Bard had a collaborator
25 November 2016
After years of research, OUP’s The New Oxford Shakespeare is the first edition of Shakespeare’s Complete Works to identify Christopher Marlowe as co-author of Henry VI parts one, two, and three.
All conclusions about authorship are endorsed by five leading specialists in the field, and are a result of a decade-long research initiative, The New Oxford Shakespeare project; the culmination of which coincides with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Work undertaken by the Press as part of this project uses the latest textual and theatrical studies to present a new consideration of Shakespeare’s works.
Gary Taylor, General Editor of The New Oxford Shakespeare, explained how new techniques have improved research: “Shakespeare has now fully entered the era of Big Data. Earlier attempts to answer all these questions about Shakespeare's collaborative work have been limited to intuitions, or to hand counts of a small number of features. We can now situate Shakespeare within large digital databases of almost all extant early modern plays, and almost all early modern printed poetry and literary prose. This makes it possible to distinguish, more precisely and more confidently, Shakespeare's stylistic identity from that of his fellow playwrights."
OUP has a longstanding history when it comes to publishing the works of Shakespeare. In 1743, Sir Thomas Hanmer, former Speaker of the House of Commons, worked on an edition, which became the fastest-selling title in Oxford’s history. Since then, OUP’s Shakespeare catalogue has evolved to span both academic and education materials.
In 1916 the Press’ Shakespeare’s England marked the 300th anniversary of the Bard’s death; while this year’s celebratory publishing includes David and Ben Crystal’s Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary (honoured with a Falstaff Award); The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation by David Crystal; John Kerrigan’s Shakespeare’s Binding Language; and Shakespeare’s First Folio by Emma Smith. The Illuminating Shakespeare website provides free resources and publications, while a collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company resulted in the RSC School Shakespeare series for 11–14 year olds.