Usually the debates surrounding Shakespeare are about his identity, but this story from the NYT discusses his co-authors.
In matters of Shakespeare authorship, it is often said that nothing is ever resolved. But in a recent book Brian Vickers, director of Renaissance Studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, has brought clarity to the old and hotly debated question of Shakespeare's work with co-authors. As a result changes will be made in some future editions of Shakespeare.
In "Shakespeare, Co-Author" (Oxford University Press, 2002), Professor Vickers, 65, shows how numerous tests by many generations of scholars demonstrate substantial work by other playwrights in five Shakespeare plays. Examining factors like rhetorical devices, polysyllabic words and metrical habits, scholars have been able to identify reliably an author of a work or part of a work, even when the early editions did not give credit.
The plays are not the top five in the Shakespeare canon. But the overwhelming evidence in the book shows that George Peele, not Shakespeare, wrote almost a third of "Titus Andronicus"; Thomas Middleton, about two-fifths of "Timon of Athens"; George Wilkins, two of the five acts of "Pericles"; and John Fletcher, more than half of "Henry VIII." "The Two Noble Kinsmen," originally published in 1634 as the work of Shakespeare and Fletcher, is shown to be about two-fifths Shakespeare's.