Consciously or not, we feel and internalize what the space tells us about how to work. When you walk into most offices, the space tells you that it's meant for a group of people to work alone. Closed-off desks sprout off of lonely hallways, and in a few obligatory conference rooms a huge table ensures that people are safely separated from one another.
Collaborations are the black holes of knowledge regimes. They willingly produce nothingness, opulence and ill behavior. And it is their very vacuity that is their strength.. It does not entail the transmission of something from those who have to those who do not, but rather the setting in motion of a chain of unforeseen accesses.
It may take a decade or two before the extent of Shakespeare's collaboration passes from the graduate seminar to the undergraduate lecture, and finally to popular biography, by which time it will be one of those things about Shakespeare that we thought we knew all along. Right now, though, for those who teach the plays and write about his life, it hasn't been easy abandoning old habits of mind. I know that I am not alone in struggling to come to terms with how profoundly it alters one's sense of how Shakespeare wrote, especially toward the end of his career when he coauthored half of his last ten plays. For intermixed with five that he wrote alone,,,,, and, are (written with Thomas Middleton), (written with George Wilkins), and, the lost, and (all written with John Fletcher).
Your corn is ripe today; mine will be so tomorrow. 'Tis profitable for us both, that I should labour with you today, and that you should aid me tomorrow. I have no kindness for you, and know you have as little for me. I will not, therefore, take any pains upon your account; and should I labour with you upon my own account, in expectation of a return, I know I should be disappointed, and that I should in vain depend upon your gratitude. Here then I leave you to labour alone; You treat me in the same manner. The seasons change; and both of us lose our harvests for want of mutual confidence and security.
Every article and review and book that I have ever published has constituted an appeal to the person or persons to whom I should have talked before I dared to write it. I never launch any little essay without the hope and the fear, because the encounter may also be embarrassing that I shall draw a letter that begins, 'Dear Mr. Hitchens, it seems that you are unaware that' It is in this sense that authorship is collaborative with 'the reader.' And there's no help for it: you only find out what you ought to have known by pretending to know at least some of it already. It doesn't matter how obscure or arcane or esoteric your place of publication may be: some sweet law ensures that the person who should be scrutinizing your work eventually does do so.