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A detail of the newly discovered portrait of William Shakespeare, presented by the Shakespeare Birthplace trust, is seen in central London, Monday March 9, 2009.    (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Three Shakespeare plays were officially credited to someone besides Shakespeare


William Shakespeare is, no doubt, a genius. But there's a lot of doubt as to whether he wrote everything he said he did alone. And for the first time, a major publishing group has listed someone else as an author of three of his plays.

The Oxford University Press' next edition of the complete works of Shakespeare will list Christopher Marlowe as a co-author of the three "Henry VI "plays.

Christopher Marlowe in "Shakespeare in Love"

WATCH | If this sounds a little bit familiar, you might be thinking of "Shakespeare in Love," in which Marlowe is part of the reason "Romeo and Juliet" becomes a tragedy.


But that's hardly the first time someone has suggested Marlowe (or someone else) actually wrote some of Shakespeare's plays. The Oxford editors suggest 17 of Shakespeare's 44 plays had input from somebody else, based on a study that relied on computerized data taken from plays of the time. NPR even reports mathematicians are doing similar research.

Another once-popular, now discredited theory suggested that philosopher Sir Francis Bacon is the true author of the works.


Marlowe, born in 1564, the same year as Shakespeare, was a graduate of Cambridge University who wrote poetry and plays. Marlowe is believed to have died in 1593 when he was stabbed under mysterious circumstances.

It will still be open for people to make up their own minds. I don't think [Oxford University Press]... settles the issue for most people.
Carol Rutter, University of Warwick

And of course, this doesn't quite close the book on all the theories of who wrote classics like "Hamlet" and "King Lear."  

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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