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

Joseph Rudman


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

Full Text:



Licenza Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Firenze University Press
Via Cittadella 7 - 50144 Firenze
Tel. (0039) 055 2757700 Fax (0039) 055 2757712