London, Mar 18: An academic claims to have unearthed six previously unrecognised works of legendary playwright William Shakespeare.
Dr John Casson, an independent researcher and psychotherapist, has found Shakespeare's first published poem the Phaeton sonnet, his first comedy Mucedorus, and his first tragedies Locrine and Arden of Faversham.
Over a period of three years, Casson studied writings that he thought were connected to Shakespeare, and explored the life and letters of aristocrat Sir Henry Neville, considered by some academics to be the latest candidate for the authorship of Shakespeare's plays.
"Some people have said, 'we don't know if this is by William Shakespeare', so I've been able to study them and say 'yes, here's the evidence for Shakespeare but here's also the evidence for Neville,' so I've been able to link the two," the Telegraph quoted Casson as saying.
"I started off looking at works where we weren't sure whether they were by Shakespeare or not and I tested them to see if there was any evidence for Henry Neville.
"I've found evidence pouring out and I've been able to show Shakespeare's development from his early days," he added.
Casson has published his findings in a book titled Enter Pursued by a Bear, which was launched work in Manchester's John Rylands Library that houses one of the first folios of Shakespeare's plays dating back to 1623, and an edition of the Bard's sonnets from 1609.
"The folio on display contains what many think are the complete works of Shakespeare, but I have discovered six new plays that are all by the Bard, but which never made it into this 400-year-old collection," he said.
"What we thought were the first plays by Shakespeare appeared anonymously in the early 1590s.
"It is inconceivable, however, that his first plays were the massive trilogy of Henry VI. Writers develop over time from simpler beginnings," he added.
Casson claims to have discovered a pseudonym 'Phaeton' in a sonnet, which he believes is the earliest pen name used by Shakespeare.
He also talks about the discovery of what he considers to be the first sketch of the Falstaff character that appears in Henry IV parts 1 and 2 and The Merry Wives of Windsor.