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Shakespeare in Company$
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Bart van Es

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199569311

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199569311.001.0001

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Shakespeare and co-authorship

Shakespeare and co-authorship

(p.278) 14 Shakespeare and co-authorship
Shakespeare in Company

Bart van Es

Oxford University Press

This final chapter considers co-authorship and makes three principal claims. First, it states that Shakespeare’s involvement with co-authorship was largely or entirely confined to the first and the final phases of his development, i.e. those years when he was closest to his fellow playwrights and most distant from the actors who performed his plays. Second, it concludes that co-authorship, for practical reasons, militates against complex evolving relationship between characters. Third, it argues that Shakespeare, as a co-author, tends to respond creatively to the poetic effects created by his collaborator—a tendency that makes his literary craft simultaneously more self-advertising and more reducible to conventional literary norms. These claims are established and explored through a series of plays in which co-authorship is likely or certain, including Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII, and The Two Noble Kinsmen.

Keywords:   co-authorship, relationship between characters, Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII, The Two Noble Kinsmen

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