Thursday, October 27, 2016

Christopher Marlowe

Science Alert. Christopher Marlowe has officially been credited as co-author of 3 Shakespeare plays.


Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I think they're still trying to figure out whether Homer was a real person, or if he was, whether he was really more of a transcriptionist.

Jim in St Louis said...

Interesting article. They are working from the assumption that Marlowe is co-author based on word choice and word frequency. But I'm not sure that is the very best method. A young play write would not use the same words when he was older. And the tone and message of the words that are written for actors would be based on what the author thinks that character would be saying.

Seems likely there was collaboration (i.e. stealing) between the different theater companies. If one troop had a bit money making hit with a comedy farce, then every other theater in town would come out with one.

bagoh20 said...

It's surprising to me that with all the works of the men available nearly complete, that there is so little metadata preserved about the time. Nobody wrote about these men back then. Nobody made these claims in real time? Didn't they have theater critics? Where was USA Today or The National Inquirer? Where's the damned sex tape?

Steg said...

He looks like the 'aliens' guy from History channel. His hair is close! He just needs a goofy stoned grin.

William said...

the evidence seems skimpy. There could have been scenarios other than collaboration: imitation, file sharing, Elizabethan tropes and memes.......I can understand people's reluctance to accept the solitary genius of Shakespeare. It does seem extraordinary that literature has produced only one such towering genius. Physics, for example, has produced Newton, Einstein and a few others......I guess it could happen. Baseball has had only one Babe Ruth.

chickelit said...

Next up: Bill and Chris were star-crossed lovers.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric the Fruit Bat said...

.......I can understand people's reluctance to accept the solitary genius of Shakespeare.

Years ago National Lampoon conjectured that maybe Shakespeare was actually three women.

bagoh20 said...

Imagine still being so important on a daily basis 500 years after you are gone. Shakespeare is taught, performed, and discussed by thousands of people everyday around the world, year after year, decade after decade. Is there any other person beyond symbolic religious figures as famous or as appreciated in all of human history in a real active way as this man? An amazing accomplishment.

Sixty Grit said...

Henry V's Band of Brothers speech still resonates with me. That is powerful writing right there.

But I think that analysis is flawed and is about as sciencey as AGW.

Chip Ahoy said...

I think word choice and frequency are very good forensics, also spellings and useage. I've seen, rather heard, it myself. Suddenly my dopey friends start using vocabulary frequently that I haven't heard out of their mouths since I've known them. It sticks out. A few in particular are notable. They're parroting the most vehement activists they encounter on Or they're parroting Michael Moore and they're aping the most vicious opinion and using the vocabulary delivered by network news. They didn't like Bush for their own reasons. It comes out, "I feel it in my heart," and so they sought out opinions more vicious than themselves from writers and opinion shapers with more pointed vocabulary. This new language of the vehement and vicious actually altered their personalities right before my dismayed eyeballs and my distressed ears. It ruined our relationship for whatever that was worth.


Who fucking says that? A wet swampy quicksand trap. Who in their right mind uses that word to describe a situation in the desert? It's such a bizarre word arrangement for that situation and suddenly the word is being driven in every unwanted conversation. That one strange and inappropriate word caught on like wildfire. It's a word that is NOT in their goddamn vocabulary. It's a new word for them. It pisses me off.


Applied to a president. Nobody, absolutely nobody ever said that in my circle, not even applied to Nixon or to Carter and suddenly and consistently and regularly applied to Bush Jr. See, someone else is doing their writing for them. Someone else is doing their thinking for them, and it is malevolent. AND that malevolency is accepted, adopted by my friends. I call them on it. Their new vocabulary, their new malevolency, the unacceptability of that. And nothing changes. They persist. I did my part in communicating my problem and it didn't matter. Had no impact. None whatsoever. So goodbye.

I would say, these new online sources are the co-authors of their play. OUR play. The drama of our lives.

Those are only two examples, there are dozens. At least a few dozen instances of co-authors that destroyed the play of our lives together. And it's traceable through language forensics. And even that was rejected. In each case each individual insisted they were doing their own thinking and using their own language. Sure it was, everyone all at once, after they encountered it online and after it was delivered to them through network news readers. After it was spoon-fed them by people more vicious more malevolent than their heretofore charming selves. They allowed new language to ruin them and to ruin us They are no longer nice people to be around, and so neither am I.

bagoh20 said...

Chip, we live in a very dynamic and highly connected culture now. We all probably digest more words per day than humans ever have, and from a wider set of sources. The internet has definitely expanded my vocabulary. It doesn't make sense to use words that your audience might not understand, but what do you do with a new word? Do you hide it under your mattress so nobody sees it? Only bring it out at night when everybody is sleeping? Or, do you jump on it and ride it around in front of your friends so they can see the cool new thing you found? Maybe they want to take for a ride themselves. It's cool that way, because everybody can ride it at the same time. C'mon, jump on our big noisey meme bus. Join the beguilement!

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

As previously noted, it the 400th Anniversary of the Bard's death, so these authors wanted something to get attention. Saying that Shakespeare did not write his plays has been attention getting fodder for a while.

I am just surprised they aren't going back to Will being a big ole pufter. Academics love outing people from history.

Odds are Shakespeare wrote his plays himself. Marlowe certainly influenced him and Shakespeare probably did steal ideas and phrases from him (consciously or unconsciously). But this stuff is about people today (who are far lesser than Shakespeare or Marlowe) trying to get attention.

bagoh20 said...

Oh yea, it's only 400 years, but in a hundred more will we still not have our fill of Will?

ricpic said...

The most extraordinary thing about Shakespeare is that he wrote all those plays on the run as it were. He was managing a theater troupe and was under constant time pressure to come up with something both novel and entertaining enough to fill the theater and keep them coming back for more. I doubt he had either the time or patience to collaborate with another outsize ego.

Chip Ahoy said...

All that being so, if he borrowed, and borrowed heavily, from the things around him that he liked, that caught his attention at the time, and sunk in and became internalized for a new play, then it can be rightfully averred all those other sources co-wrote his dramas. Whether or not they actually sat down together and collaborated to concoct a piece as co-writers. Just as and Daily Kos and Michael Moore co-wrote every vile new thing that spilled out of my one-time friends mouths to the point of fashioning new and more dreadful personalities.

And that is detectable by new language.

I would like to have heart-to-heart talks with my friends, as I do, as I insist, as we did. But with the more simple minded, the less sincere, that is not possible anymore. Instead all that's been replaced and now I have conversations with DNC talking points and the most vehement, the most fierce, the most careless of all Democrat operatives. My authentic personal conversations became conversations with PBS and NPR and with erroneous scenes from Fahrenheit 911 and with the entire DNC all at once. Those sources are the co-authors of all my old friend's new work. Those co-authors were sought out because they were needed. My friend being incapable of expressing all that on their own.

I've had my own words taken and used. My own unique arrangement of words picked up and used later, as if I wouldn't recognize them, having struggled to contrive them to begin with. As if my interlocutor imagined they thought that up themselves and that I wouldn't recognize my own work. Real work there. I actually did struggle for those unique arrangements. Those incidents astounded me because I was given no recognition whatsoever when I originally came up with them. I actually lost the argument. But my ideas DID sink in. And obviously so, not just apparently. I co-wrote their new thoughts. And they think they wrote their own thoughts themselves after MY language sunk in.

And it's not just new vocabulary. It's frequency of language. It's uniqueness of language.

The Unabomber was discovered this way, (and by his brother).

Bill Ayers is discovered as author of Obama's books this way by his frequent nautical references, by his "ribbons of blood" repetition.

Spelling is another. Grammar another. If you read, say, a suicide note that included the phrase "fucksocks!" wouldn't you automatically suspect that I might have something to do with it?

If a political activist group constantly misspells Sanders as Saunders as I read today, or Hillery instead of Hillary then wouldn't you suspect something strange? Or dots their "I's" with little hearts, wouldn't that be a clue to authorship?

Chip Ahoy said...

In Shakespeare's time spelling was not codified. He made up quite a lot of words. If brand new words appeared elsewhere then those instances are valid clues to authorship.

Once I read an hilarious account of Lewis and Clark expedition. The fun occurred at the page turn in Time magazine. I'm certain they did this on purpose because the reader expects one thing but receives another.

The article describes how terrible [one of them] is at spelling. He's sounding it out as he goes. Nothing was codified anyway. And he spelled the same words differently throughout. There being no such thing as autocorrect. I forget which one was doing the writing, Clark, I think. After noting several instances of bizarre spelling that has the reader already amused the article goes: "To say the least, Clark's spelling was

[turn page]


Now, due to content, by syntax and by subject, Clark's writing (if he's the one) is recognizable instantly by anyone familiar with the work. Further, people who have studied the work of both will be able to tell which explorer wrote which part by their spellings alone.

Come on, now. Give these people who've studied both Marlowe and Shakespeare their due. They're not just seeking recognition. They're telling you what they know by having studied their subjects so they recognize their voices, in the same way we can say with confidence the words printed in red, the rubrics in Book of Revelations is definitely NOT the voice of Jesus. We know what he sounds like. By now, after all those previous books, all that previous understanding of his voice we can recognize when somebody else is speaking by their vocabulary, by their arrangements, by their voices, we KNOW when somebody else is talking.

[The Ted Ted Kaczynski thing is disputed because lots of people say "have their cake and eat it too." But there are other clues having to do with word count, frequencies, and such, that leave fingerprints. As you can recognize an Obama speech by obsessive use of "me" and "I" or you can recognize speech of Bush Jr. by the frequency of "we gotta ... whatever " and "we're gonna hafta ... this and that." ]

ampersand said...

It's likely that in 60 years more people have seen "I Love Lucy" than any and all Shakespeare's works.

bagoh20 said...

Wait, Shakespeare had a TV sitcom?

Christy said...

I've for years enjoyed speculations on who wrote Shakespeare's plays. Word frequency has been used to buttress favored writers for decades. Somehow, though, I find myself sceptical of the legitimacy of today's scholars. The academic agenda appears to be to destroy all dead white males of accomplishment, so I automatically reject the scholarship of today's experts. Childish of me, I'm sure, but there you have it. Even sillier is that I've always thought Marlowe made a good alternative.

One of my favorite theories is that Elizabeth I wrote the plays. A portrait of Shakespeare is supposed to have points in common with the queen's face. As I said, a favored theory, not a believable one.