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.
Attribution; Authorship; Shakespeare; Statistics; Stylistics