Oxford University Press has announced that its new edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare will credit Christopher Marlowe as a co-author on the three Henry VI plays.
Despite years of controversy about the authorship of some of Shakespeare's work, this is the first time a major publishing house has formally named Marlowe as a co-author.
Christopher Marlowe is a 16th century British poet and playwright. The extent of his possible influence on (or even collaboration with) William Shakespeare is the subject of much academic scholarship, as NPR has reported, but for many years, mainstream academics had mostly derided efforts of independent scholars who challenged the authorship of plays attributed to Shakespeare.
The new Oxford edition, which will be available in November, was edited by four Shakespeare scholars: Gary Taylor of Florida State University, John Jowett of the University of Birmingham, Terri Bourus of Indiana University and Gabriel Egan of De Montfort University.
Taylor tells NPR the conclusion that Marlowe should be credited as co-author is partly based on a combination of new and old research. In particular, Taylor cited 2009 research by Hugh Craig and Arthur Kinney that analyzed vocabulary from the Henry VI plays and compared it to plays known to have been written by Marlowe, and a 2015 article by John Nance analyzing the prose of Part 2 of Henry VI.