Vol. 5 (2016): The Many Lives of William Shakespeare: Biography, Authorship and Collaboration
Part Two - Case Studies

Non-Traditional Authorship Attribution Studies of William Shakespeare’s Canon: Some Caveats

Joseph Rudman
Laboratorio editoriale OA / Dip. LILSI
Published March 9, 2016
Keywords
  • Attribution,
  • Authorship,
  • Shakespeare,
  • Statistics
How to Cite
Rudman, J. (2016). Non-Traditional Authorship Attribution Studies of William Shakespeare’s Canon: Some Caveats. Journal of Early Modern Studies, 5, 307-328. https://doi.org/10.13128/JEMS-2279-7149-18094

Abstract

The paper looks at the problems in conducting non-traditional authorship attribution studies on the canon of William Shakespeare. After a short introduction, the case is put forth that these studies are ‘scientific’ and must adhere to the tenets of the scientific method. By showing that a complete and valid experimental plan is necessary and pointing out the many and varied pitfalls (e.g., the text, the control groups, the treatment of errors), it becomes clear what a valid study of Shakespearean non-traditional authorship attribution demands. I then come to the conclusion that such a valid study is not attainable with the limits of present-day knowledge.