Czech linguist: Half of ‘Henry VIII’ not written by Shakespeare

25-11-2019

Half of the famous play Henry VIII was not written by William Shakespeare but by a contemporary English playwright, according to analysis by a linguist from the Academy of Sciences.

A 19th-century British scholar named James Spedding was the first to formally posit that Shakespeare’s peer John Fletcher wrote several scenes, based on the rhythm of the verses.

Czech researcher Petr Plecháč used a machine learning system that he developed to analyse which portions of Henry VIII were likely written by Fletcher.

His approach trained an algorithm to recognise word choices and rhythms of both Shakespeare and Fletcher plays from the time, and used a “rolling window” technique to study those styles.