Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

When the Raw Data Is Hidden, the Conclusions Mislead

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

When the Raw Data Is Hidden, the Conclusions Mislead

Article excerpt

When the Raw Data Is Hidden, the Conclusions Mislead MacDonald P. Jackson. Defining Shakespeare: Pericles as Test Case. 272pp, hardback, 1 line illustration. $180. 6X9". ISBN: 978-0199260508. Oxford: Oxford Scholarship Online: Oxford University Press, 2003.

My own linguistic analysis determined that Pericles' " Shakespeare"attributed Acts 1 and 2, and its frequently contested Act 3 were both written by Munday. Acts 1 and 2 are slightly more collaborative including signatures matching Fletcher and Munday as well as other highly collaborative works. As I mentioned earlier in this set of reviews, I determined that Wilkins' Enforced Marriage play was ghostwritten by Drayton, so it is likely this study used illogical, flawed, biased or otherwise misleading methods to reach its proposed conclusions. When Wilkins' Enforced is compared with Pericles' Acts 1 and 2, they only match on 2 out of 28 tests, indicating extreme dissimilarity, or a certainty they are by divergent authors. If scholars believe the attribution conclusions of this particular study, they would be believing the opposite of what the math indicates regarding these texts.

Here is what it attempts to prove: "'That very great play, Pericles', as T. S. Eliot called it, poses formidable problems of text and authorship. The first of the Late Romances, it was ascribed to Shakespeare when printed in a quarto of 1609, but was not included in the First Folio (1623) collection of his plays. …

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