Oxford to credit Christopher Marlowe as co-author on Shakespeare's Henry VI plays | EW.com

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Oxford to credit Christopher Marlowe as co-author on Shakespeare's Henry VI plays

(Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection)

The debate about the authorship of William Shakespeare’s plays has been raging for years, but Oxford University Press just made an unprecedented move: The publisher will credit Christopher Marlowe as co-author on the Bard’s Henry VI plays.

Marlowe was a contemporary of Shakespeare and the author of plays including Doctor Faustus. A new book, called The New Oxford Shakespeare, contains the complete works of Shakespeare, including Henry VI, Parts I, II, and III. It will be published on Dec. 27.

One of the editors, Gary Taylor, told NPR that the decision to credit Marlowe was partly based on research analyzing the language of the Henry VI plays, but Carol Rutter, a professor of Shakespeare and performance studies at the University of Warwick, told the BBC that she doesn’t think the decision is definitive.

“I don’t think [Oxford University Press] putting their brand mark on an attribution settles the issue for most people,” she says.

This question of authorship was the subject of the 2011 film Anonymous. This year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.