Sloppy Handwriting Provides New Evidence in Shakespeare Debate

Messy handwriting ain’t so bad after all. Scholars have debated for centuries whether portions of Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy were written by William Shakespeare. Douglas Bruster, a professor at the University of Texas, identified Shakespeare’s distinct handwriting and idiosyncratic spelling in the so-called “Additional Passages” of the 1602 edition of the play, the closest thing to definitive proof yet that the 325 lines in question were indeed by the bard. Last year, the scholar Brian Vickers arrived at the same conclusion after a linguistic analysis. The “Additional Passages” were added after Kyd’s death to lend the violent revenge tale a measure of psychological depth and introspection. Bruster will publish a paper on his findings in the September issue of the journal Notes and Queries.