Christopher Marlowe to be credited for contribution to Shakespeare's work

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Christopher Marlowe is to be credited on a re-release of William Shakespeare's work after having long been suspected as being a major contributor to the playwright's efforts.

Oxford University Press confirmed the two dramatists will jointly appear on the title pages for the three Henry VI plays in a new collection of the Bard's known works.

The decision for the upcoming edition, entitled New Oxford Shakespeare, comes after the experts using modern analytical methods revisited the question of whether Shakespeare collaborated with others.

Painting of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare to be joined by Christopher Marlowe on joint credit in new edition of his works (Alexander Zemlianichenko/ AP/PA Images)

The scholars working on the collection found that Marlowe's contribution has been verified "strongly and clearly enough", as research suggests Shakespeare's collaboration with others was previously underestimated.

Research conducted by 23 international scholars concluded that 17 of 44 Shakespeare plays were written with the help of another author or authors.

The publisher said that "identifying Marlowe's hand in the Henry VI plays is just one of the fresh features of this project".

The experts included Gary Taylor of Florida State University and John Jowett at the University of Birmingham.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Bankside, south London
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Bankside, south London (John Walton/ PA Wire/PA Images)

Taylor said: "We have been able to verify Marlowe's presence in those three plays strongly and clearly enough."

Speaking to The Guardian, he added: "We can now be confident that they didn't just influence each other but they worked with each other. Rivals sometimes collaborate."

The authorship of Shakespeare's works has long been disputed, with one theory being that philosopher Sir Francis Bacon is the true author of the works.

This will be the first time Doctor Faustus author Marlowe will be credited in a Shakespeare publication despite being suspected of having lent a creative hand to the plays as far back as the 18th century.