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

Joseph Rudman

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.


Keywords


Attribution; Authorship; Shakespeare; Statistics; Stylistics

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13128/JEMS-2279-7149-18094



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