By Don Foster
From the professor who invented literary forensics—and fingered Joe Klein because the writer of Primary Colors—comes the interior tale of ways he solves his such a lot not easy cases
Don Foster is the world's first literary detective. figuring out that everyone's use of language is as specific as his or her DNA, Foster built a progressive technique for picking out the author at the back of nearly any nameless record. Now, during this captivating booklet, he explains his innovations and invitations readers to take a seat by means of his aspect as he searches a mysterious textual content for the clues that whisper the author's name.
Foster's distinct abilities first got here to gentle whilst a front-page New York Times article introduced his discovery formerly unattributed poem used to be written by way of Shakespeare. a couple of weeks later, Foster solved the secret that had obsessed the US for months whilst he pointed out Joe Klein because the writer of Primary Colors. Foster additionally took on a case related to the...
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Back home, after transcribing and editing the text from start to finish, I shared it with two of my graduate advisors at UCSB. One thought the elegy was Shakespeare, the other was noncommittal but interested. S. My goal was not to prove that Shakespeare wrote the poem, but to find out who did. No matter what, it seemed like a good story. ’s 1612 “Funeral Elegy,” a hitherto unknown poem possibly by Shakespeare. My UCSB advisors assured Mr. Sisler that, in their opinion, this was an important project, and that Donald Foster, though a graduate student, was not daft.
The original 1612 text of the elegy was made difficult to read by erratic punctuation and dozens of typographical errors, the result of George Eld’s careless or hasty printing, and by the poet’s own difficult, often convoluted, sentence construction. Back home, after transcribing and editing the text from start to finish, I shared it with two of my graduate advisors at UCSB. One thought the elegy was Shakespeare, the other was noncommittal but interested. S. My goal was not to prove that Shakespeare wrote the poem, but to find out who did.
As decoded by amateur sleuths, Thorpe’s prefatory wish has been discovered to contain such attributional secrets as “THESE SONNETS ALL BY E. ). ” The cryptographic approach to this ancient literary conundrum usually entails a minor reshuffling of the letters, or a reliance on unusual spellings like “cypphrs”—gambits that would not be allowed in a Scrabble game much less in Shakespeare scholarship. But, not to put too fine a point on it, professional Shakespeareans have obsessed over Thorpe’s message as well.