Sir Brian Vickers defends Shakespeare in The Times

Monday 11 December 2017

Professor Sir Brian Vickers, distinguished senior fellow at the School of Advanced Study and senior research fellow at the Institute of English Studies (IES), defends Shakespeare against claims by scholars using computer-aided research that the Bard had help from contemporaries such as Christopher Marlowe. They suggest, for example, that Marlowe was responsible for passages in The Taming of the Shrew and all three parts of the Henry VI series. Professor Vickers, who pioneered the use of computers to compare Shakespeare’s plays with those of his contemporaries, comments in The Times that he believes the practice has spiralled out of control. ‘My concern is that a number of scholars with training in maths – some of them electrical engineers or physicists – have devised algorithms that appear to give results declaring this or that scene “non-Shakespearean”’, says Sir Brian. ‘But they know very little about Shakespeare and don’t look at the plays.’ The story has been picked up by The Australian.