Thursday, December 23, 2010

Worth Repeating: Shakespeare, Businessman...

Click here for Anthony Kellett's "William Shakespeare, Businessman - Forgotten Genius," one of this blog's most popular posts (and which has generated/provoked many reader comments).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Donna Murphy Wins Hoffman Prize

Congratulations to Donna N. Murphy for co-winning the 2010 Calvin and Rose G. Hoffman Prize for a Distinguished Publication on Christopher Marlowe. She is only the third person to do so for a work which supports the view that Marlowe wrote Shakespeare (the others being Peter Farey and Michael Rubbo). Her entry, “Christopher Marlowe and the authorship of Early English Anonymous Plays,” attempts to provide some evidence for the authorship of certain anonymous Elizabethan plays. Donna explains that her analysis "employs a new technique involving Matches and Near Matches."

Matches are word juxtapositions occurring no more than once elsewhere within forty years of the works in question in the searchable Early English Books Online (EEBO) database, while Near Matches are those occurring no more than fifteen other times within EEBO’s over 20,000 records. (For an example of how she elsewhere employed EEBO to ascertain authorship, see Donna N. Murphy, “The Cobbler of Canterbury and Robert Greene,” Notes & Queries 57 {2010}: 349-52). She is particularly intrigued by Matches that seem to occur at the subconscious level. For example:

Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage:
A woeful tale bids Dido to unfold,
Whose memory, like pale death’s stony mace,
Beats forth my senses from this troubled soul,
And makes Aeneas sink at Dido’s feet. (II.i.114-7)

Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus 1594 Quarto:
The poor remainder of Andronici
Will, hand in hand, all headlong cast us down,
And on the ragged stones beat forth our soules,
And make a mutuall closure of our house. (K3v-K4r)
The First Folio version of Titus replaces “souls” with “brains” (V.iii.131-4)

Not only do these two plays share the only occurrences in EEBO of “Ston*” within ten words of “beat* forth,” they additionally juxtapose “soul*” plus “and make*.” The passages share a deep connection, yet do not appear to be one man imitating another.

Despite winning the Prize, Donna has no immediate plans to publish her essay. Rather she sees it as a work in progress. "I hope to publish some of my findings in the next few years," she explains, "but not until I've undertaken further linguistic investigation of Thomas Nashe."

Click here for Donna's article "Could the Earl of Oxford Have Written the Works of Shakespeare?," which first appeared on this blog in November 2009. Emmerich Anonymous

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