Speed Reads

Plot twist

These Shakespeare plays probably weren't written entirely by Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is no longer getting all the credit for the saga of Henry VI. Oxford University Press has announced it's going to list writer Christopher Marlowe's name alongside Shakespeare's on the title page for each of the three Henry VI plays in upcoming editions of the works.

The decision followed new "textual analysis and the use of computerized tools to examine the scripts" by 23 international scholars, whose research determined rivals Marlowe and Shakespeare more than just influenced one another's work, BBC reported. "We have been able to verify Marlowe's presence in those three plays strongly and clearly enough," Gary Taylor of Florida State University told The Guardian. Marlowe, who was once mistakenly thought to actually be Shakespeare, has been suspected of being involved in the creation of the Henry VI plays since the 18th century, but this marks the first time he's getting a share of the credit.

The research further revealed that these three plays might not be the only ones Shakespeare got some help on; now, researchers say the Henry VI trio may be among "as many as 17 plays that ... contain writing by other people, sometimes several hands," The Guardian reported.

That's close to two-fifths of Shakespeare's plays, of which there are 44 in total, that the Bard may not have written entirely alone. But as Shakespeare — or any of his potential co-writers — put it: "What's in a name?"