Sponsored by De Montfort University
Professor Gabriel Egan, Professor of Shakespeare Studies, De Montfort University
Shakespeare is often credited with coining many of the familiar words and phrases now used in the English language. But he didn’t. Shakespeare is often supposed to have had an unusually large vocabulary. But he didn’t. Yet Alexander Pope wrote of Shakespeare’s plays that “had all the speeches been printed without the very names of the persons, I believe one might have applied them with certainty to every speaker”. Is there something about how Shakespeare differentiated characters that is also true of how he differentiated himself from his fellow writers? What, if anything, is so special about Shakespeare?
Gabriel Egan is a General Editor of Oxford University Press’s landmark New Oxford Shakespeare Complete Works and a Professor of Shakespeare Studies at De Montfort University. He specializes in the computational analysis of early modern language, particularly where this can help us figure out the authorship of works that were anonymously published or whose authorship is disputed. He teaches students these techniques and also the old-fashioned art of letter-press printing. His research and teaching build on the idea that letter-press printing gave us the first intellectual revolution and digital text the second.
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