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The CORD: Shakespeare plays compacted

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Michelle Loggia
Staff Writer

Jeffrey Kahan, associate professor of English recently had many pieces of work published and selected for publication that concentrate on William Shakespeare, the forgeries of him and other works during the Renaissance era.

Kahan’s works were selected and published by a variety of literary publications. Among those works is a CD-ROM, the CORD, a “Compendium of Renaissance Drama.”

With over 300 contributors from 26 countries, the CD-ROM offers a comprehensive collection of information regarding literary works during the Renaissance.

Kahan edited the CORD along with three other scholars.

“It is the most comprehensive database of stuff on Renaissance plays put together,” Kahan said. “It will revolutionize the information we have.”

With so many works published during the era, more than 619 are inaccessible to scholars or difficult to access.

“When anybody does any research access is extremely limited. Less than 100 plays are accessible to most scholars.

“We”re only dealing with information that represents about one-third of the plays that were actually viewed,” Kahan said.

The CORD organizes information in a way that affords scholars easy access to topics and themes of the period. One of Kahan”s fellow faculty agree on the importance of CORD’s development.

“From a librarian standpoint, it is a benefit to have resources available that have heretofore been in private collections or otherwise inaccessible,” said Donna G. Bentley, associate professor and librarian.

“It allows people access to a database without having to go to some far flung library,” Kahan said.

The CORD includes entries of every actor in every play known at that time.

It includes information about characters were in every play and what playhouses performed which plays.

The CD also contains information about works other than Shakespeare’s that were written during that time.

“The function is to enhance our knowledge and allow students at a graduate level to have appreciation for authors other than Shakespeare,” Kahan said.

Kahan has several more projects that are to be released within the next two years.

His publication titled “Canonical Breaches and Apocryphal Patches” was accepted by “Shakespeare Yearbook” and will be released in 2005.

“Apocryphal plays are somehow connected with Shakespeare, but not necessarily by him. However, we are not ready to completely write them off as Shakespeare’s,” Kahan said.

A variety of plays performed by Shakespeare’s company are apocryphal. They may be anonymous, but have patters and motifs that are Shakespearean.

Several other projects by Kahan feature the works of Georgian period writer William-Henry Ireland.

“He is a Shakespeare forger. He (also) wrote a ton of gothic novels. I’m editing ‘Gondez the Monk,’ which is being published by Zittaw Press,” Kahan said

Another article of Kahan’s regarding Ireland, will be published in the “Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature 3rd Edition.”

This work is scheduled for release in 2006.

In addition to his other works, Kahan wrote three children’s books, “Shakespeare for Children,” which are being released next year.

Works of Shakespeare were cut down to 8,000 to 10,000 word entries.

“The books are for a 10-year-old reading level and up,” Kahan said.

Kahan finds time to write amidst teaching classes and involvement in the English department by making time to write.

“I get in, in the morning and write a 1,000 words a day and on the seventh day I edit,” he said.

Kahan also has an easy criterion to follow when judging his own work. He is very confident of his accomplishments in publishing pieces. “I am proud of any book I can get published,” he said.

Michelle Loggia can be reached by e-mail at msloggia@aol.com.

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