Timon of Athens Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Timon of Athens book cover
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Was Shakespeare the sole author or a co-author of "Timon of Athens"?

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The text of “Timon of Athens” is much more puzzling to scholars and readers then the text of many other Shakespeare plays. There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that it is unfinished, it seems that it was never performed in Shakespeare's lifetime, and it even seems clear that it was not originally going to be published in his collected works in 1623 at all but was substituted at the last minute when the publishers lost the rights to publish “Troilus and Cressida” and needed something to fill the pages already laid out for “Troilus”. Contemporary scholarship points to Thomas Middleton as a co-author of the play; stylometric evidence obtained through computer analysis of both Shakespeare’s and Middleton’s other work has revealed Middleton's hand in large sections of the text. Scholars still continue to debate whether the effort was truly collaborative, with Shakespeare and Middleton working together, or more separate, with Shakespeare writing a draft later revised by Middleton, or possibly vice versa. Whatever the working method was, evidence is clear that “Timon of Athens” is most accurately credited as a play by William Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton.

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