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Shakespeare 'collaborated on Edward III play'

12th October 2009

An expert claims to have solved the mystery of whether William Shakespeare co-wrote an unattributed play about Edward III.

Sir Brian Vickers, a specialist on the playwright at the University of London's Institute of English Studies, analysed The Reign of King Edward III using a computer programme designed to detect cheating students.

After comparing the play to some of the Bard's early works and that of other contemporaries, the expert believes the evidence points to the involvement of Thomas Kyd, who was one of the leading dramatists of the day.

The University of Maastricht's Pl@giarism computer programme looked for three-word speech patterns in the play and found that around 60 per cent of the work can be attributed to Kyd and the remainder to Shakespeare.

Vickers told The Times: 'Everyone can see that certain scenes are very Shakespearean, but no one could see why there were verses that are definitely not his. There is a real difference in quality between the two authors.'

Over the years, the authorship of works attributed to Shakespeare has been called into question, with Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon and Edward de Vere all touted as the 'real writer' of the Bard's plays.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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