Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Shakespeare code: English professor confirms The Bard's hand in 'The Spanish Tragedy'

Date:
August 14, 2013
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
An English Professor confirms Shakespeare authored 325 additional lines in "The Spanish Tragedy."

For centuries, scholars have been searching for answers to a literary mystery: Who wrote the five additional passages in Thomas Kyd's "The Spanish Tragedy?" Mounting arguments point to William Shakespeare, but Douglas Bruster, professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin, has recently found evidence confirming that the 325 additional lines are indeed the work of the Bard.

Related Articles


According to Bruster's textual analysis, published in the July online issue of Notes and Queries, the proof lies in Shakespeare's trademark misspellings and the bad handwriting behind them.

"This is the clinching evidence we need to admit the additional passages into the Shakespeare canon," says Bruster, who holds the Mody C. Boatright Regents Professorship in American and English Literature. "It's not every day we get to identify new writing by Shakespeare, so this is an exciting moment."

Bruster examined Shakespeare's spelling habits in the manuscript pages of the 16th-century play "Sir Thomas More." Using Shakespeare's contributions as a guide, he identified 24 points of similarity between "Sir Thomas More" and "The Spanish Tragedy," a play republished, with new material, at about the time of "Hamlet."

The findings reveal that Shakespeare's spelling was both old-fashioned and idiosyncratic. For example, with words like "spotless" and "darkness" Shakespeare would use a single "s." Past-tense words like "wrapped" and "blessed" he ended with a "t" (i.e. "wrapt," "blest"). Also telling is his habit of spelling the same word in two different ways (i.e. "alley" spelled "allie" and "allye" in the same line).

Shakespeare's contributions to the revised version of Kyd's play were first suspected in 1833 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the noted poet, philosopher and literary critic. Yet the cold case has remained unsolved owing to a number of awkward lines in the additions. Like a game of telephone, Shakespeare's words got lost in translation, resulting in phrases that barely resemble the original, Bruster says.

"One line in particular literally kept me up at night wondering what Shakespeare was doing," Bruster says. "Then I realized that the copyist or printer had misread his handwriting. It turns out that the worst line in the additional passages wasn't what Shakespeare wrote. Once you recognize what the line originally said, the beauty of his verse rises to the surface."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "The Shakespeare code: English professor confirms The Bard's hand in 'The Spanish Tragedy'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814095639.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2013, August 14). The Shakespeare code: English professor confirms The Bard's hand in 'The Spanish Tragedy'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814095639.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "The Shakespeare code: English professor confirms The Bard's hand in 'The Spanish Tragedy'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130814095639.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gerbils, Not Rats, Might Be To Blame For The Black Death

Gerbils, Not Rats, Might Be To Blame For The Black Death

Newsy (Feb. 24, 2015) The "black death" that killed tens of millions of people has been blamed on rats for years, but now researchers say they may have gotten a bad rap. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Timbuktu Manuscripts Face an Uncertain Future

Timbuktu Manuscripts Face an Uncertain Future

AFP (Feb. 23, 2015) Two years ago a large number of manuscripts were taken from Timbuktu for safe keeping. Now the question is whether to return them. Duration: 02:50 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Did A Mummy End Up In A 1,000-Year-Old Buddha Statue?

How Did A Mummy End Up In A 1,000-Year-Old Buddha Statue?

Newsy (Feb. 23, 2015) A CT scan has revealed a mummified Chinese monk inside a Buddha statue. The remains date back about 1,000 years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare First Folio Arrives at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Rare First Folio Arrives at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Feb. 23, 2015) A rare First Folio discovered in a French library arrives at the Shakespeare&apos;s Globe Theatre in London, where the Bard&apos;s plays were first performed. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins