The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1563 Tuesday, 20 September 2005 From: Ward Elliott <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> Date: Monday, 19 Sep 2005 18:59:28 -0700 Subject: Two New Authorship Studies Many SHAKSPERians have wanted a look at the long, documented case statements underlying our most recent postings. Valenza and I have just put two of our latest articles on the web: our long Tennessee Law Review Article, "Oxford by the Numbers," and a shorter one on the "Shakespeare" sections of Sir Thomas More and Edward III, "Two Tough Nuts to Crack," to be published in the Shakespeare Yearbook next year. The web addresses are: http://govt.claremontmckenna.edu/welliott/UTConference/Oxford_by_Numbers.pdf http://govt.claremontmckenna.edu/welliott/UTConference/2ToughNuts.pdf "Oxford by the Numbers" gives a detailed explanation of how we calculate the odds of Shakespeare authorship of a sample text, relative to those of the least Shakespearean play or verse block in our core Shakespeare baseline. It describes the distinctive features of our methodology: quantitative evidence; clean, commonized baseline; negative evidence; and our use of blocks and profiles. It discusses cautions about some tests for genre, date of composition, prosody, and editing; it considers internal consistency, replicability; correspondence with available documents, margins of error, holding up under adverse criticism, and presents our old, $1,000 wager. It also explains scientific notation and tells how to calculate it with a $15 scientific calculator. Table 2.4, extracted below, gives a summary of some of our results: Table 2.4. Shakespeare's Farthest Outlier 3,000-Word Poem Blocks Compared with Oxford, Marlowe, and Funeral Elegy Poem Tests Rejections Discrete Continuous Block Composite Composite Probability Probability Shakespeare 14 1 3.1E-01 9.0E-02 Oxford 14 6* 7.7E-07* <1.0E-15* Bacon 14 7* 2.3E-08* <1.0E-15* Marlowe 1 14 3* 5.2E-03* 1.6E-02* Marlowe 2 14 4* 3.7E-04* 3.1E-04* Elegy 14 6* 7.7E-07* <1.0E-15* Table 2.4. * = outside Shakespeare range. 3.1E-01 means 3.1 times ten to the minus one = 31%.raw composite Shakespeare probability for the Shakespeare block. 7.7E-07 means 7.7 times ten to the minus seven = .00000077 raw composite Shakespeare probability for the Elegy. Relative composite Shakespeare odds are computed by dividing the raw probability score of the least probable baseline Shakespeare block (top line) by the probabilities observed for comparison samples (next 5 lines). The three leading Shakespeare claimants and the Funeral Elegy are all far less likely than Shakespeare's own farthest outlier baseline blocks to have come from Shakespeare by chance. The closest block, Marlowe 1, is 5-60 times less probable than Shakespeare's own outliers. The most distant block, Bacon, is between 13 million and 90 trillion times less probable than Shakespeare's outliers. Marlowe 1 would be a much closer call than Bacon, Oxford, or the Elegy, but Marlowe himself is hardly a likely Shakespeare claimant, thanks to his very distant second block and his long list of plays which don't come close to matching Shakespeare. Neither he, nor Oxford and Bacon, nor any of the 34 other Shakespeare "claimants" we could test are close calls. All the claimants are on different stylistic planets from Shakespeare. So is the author of the Funeral Elegy, which, however, fits comfortably within our stylometric profile of John Ford. For whole plays, some numbers of interest from "Two Tough Nuts" would be: Play Tests Rejections Discrete Continuous Composite Composite Probability Probability The Tempest 48 2 2.3E-01 3.7E-03 Sir T More 48 7* 3.3E-05* <1.0E-15* Edward III 48 13* 4.4E-12* 2.6E-12* Woodstock 48 20* <1.0E-15* <1.0E-15* The Tempest falls just within the Shakespeare range and marks the outer threshold of our core Shakespeare baseline. None of the three others listed are on the same stylistic planet with Shakespeare, even after appropriate cautions and discounts for genre, date, editing, and prosody. Both versions of Woodstock's Shakespeare probability, Discrete and Continuous, are too low to compute on a standard PC. These are figures for whole plays and do not rule out partial Shakespeare authorship. The "Shakespeare" parts of Sir Thomas More and Edward III are much closer calls, but the odds in both cases still do not favor Shakespeare. "Two Tough Nuts" also discusses which plays which appeared during Shakespeare's lifetime raise the most interesting questions of authorship; it also raises the ante of our wager from $1,000 to its present amount of