Here is my second post for BloggingShakespeare.com. As you’ll see, it is a fairly casual reaction–a big fat yawn–to the recent news that the “computational knowledge engine” Wolfram Alpha has added the works of Shakespeare–from an unspecified textual corpus–to its database. Despite some buzz in the uninformed press, the result is equally useless to students and scholars.
I have finally managed to find a copy of Brian Vickers’s Shakespeare: Co-Author on sale for less than $50; once it arrives I expect to use it as a springboard to further thought on these issues about databases, particularly in view of recent developments such as the half-baked attribution to Middleton of parts of All’s Well That Ends Well that I mentioned some time ago. Stylometry and attribution studies and the relation between them are definitely up-and-coming topics; I’ll try to keep you informed on a nonspecialist level.