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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
Shakespeare's Mythical Monkey Authors
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0940  Thursday, 19 May 2005

[1]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 May 2005 09:31:09 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0927 Shakespeare's Mythical Monkey Authors

[2]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 May 2005 23:56:10 +1000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0913 Shakespeare's Mythical Monkey Authors

[3]     From:   Julia Griffin <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 May 2005 14:17:33 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0927 Shakespeare's Mythical Monkey Authors


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 May 2005 09:31:09 EDT
Subject: 16.0927 Shakespeare's Mythical Monkey Authors
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0927 Shakespeare's Mythical Monkey Authors

Stylometric analysis has shown that, of the 23 words from Timon of
Athens produced by the cyber-monkeys, only 14 are by Shakespeare and the
other 9 are by Thomas Middleton...

Bill Lloyd

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Groves <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 May 2005 23:56:10 +1000
Subject: 16.0913 Shakespeare's Mythical Monkey Authors
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0913 Shakespeare's Mythical Monkey Authors

Bill Arnold quotes (or perhaps QUOTES):

"So, how much Shakespeare can monkeys write?  The answer, it turns out,
is not much.  Over the course of billions of cyber-years-the simulator
runs at a highly accelerated rate in the hopes that it 'creates
interesting results in our life-times'-the cyber-monkeys' best showing
is a match of 23 words from *Timon of Athens.*

Surely the original point of the monkeys-and-typewriters
thought-experiment was to demonstrate the nature of infinity.  The point
is that, given infinity (rather than Bill's piddling "billions of
years"), any (immortal) monkey-even one that pressed a key only once
every billion, or billion billion years-would *eventually* produce not
just a complete works of William Shakespeare, but every edition with
every emendation-and, moreover, produce every one of those things an
infinite number of times.

Thank God for atheism.

Peter Groves

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Julia Griffin <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 May 2005 14:17:33 -0400
Subject: 16.0927 Shakespeare's Mythical Monkey Authors
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0927 Shakespeare's Mythical Monkey Authors

There's a nice variant on the Shakespeare-by-monkeys trope in Edmund
Crispin's first novel, The Gilded Fly.  Here an Oxford college sets up
the ingredients for the experiment in one of its quads.  After some
years, the monkeys, provided for at the college's expense, have
entertained themselves in various embarrassing ways and caused a
considerable amount of damage but not yet touched a typewriter.

Julia

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