Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Stylometrics
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0750  Thursday, 25 March 2004

[1]     From:   Michael Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 22 Mar 2004 06:05:58 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0739 Stylometrics

[2]     From:   W.L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 22 Mar 2004 16:46:29 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0739 Stylometrics

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 22 Mar 2004 15:56:06 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0739 Stylometrics


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 22 Mar 2004 06:05:58 -1000
Subject: 15.0739 Stylometrics
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0739 Stylometrics

I raised some general questions about stylometrics and the undefended
assumptions underlying the procedure. I gave some supporting examples to
illustrate my concern that the statistics differ. If any readers are
interested in taking up these matters in a professional and neutral way
I'll be happy to participate in further discussion.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W.L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 22 Mar 2004 16:46:29 -0500
Subject: 15.0739 Stylometrics
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0739 Stylometrics

I will not take Ward Elliott's bet on my own, but if ten or twenty
others are willing to come up with the cash, I'd be willing to put down
$50 or $100 -- just to see if Ward is holding aces.

Bill Godshalk

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 22 Mar 2004 15:56:06 -0800
Subject: 15.0739 Stylometrics
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0739 Stylometrics

Ward Elliott writes, clearly referring to myself:

 >In the other poster's case, his argument was that computers can only
 >tell you what you already know, not what you don't know.  I got out of
 >it by offering him a $1,000 bet that, if we tested any one previously
 >untested non-Shakespeare play of his choice, our tests would reject it.

I didn't take it up because it wouldn't prove anything.  We already know
that non-Shakespeare plays are outside the corpus of surviving works
which your system tests for inclusion in.  We'd need a new play by
Shakespeare (that you didn't know is by Shakespeare, and therefore the
provenance of which couldn't affect the accuracy of the tests, even
subconsciously) to provide a positive test, and there aren't any.
Furthermore, you were claiming odds much greater than fifty-fifty, so
offering me even money seemed rather niggardly.

This isn't to say that your findings are worthless, and I never said
that they were.  When I have a chance, I usually drop by sessions on
bibliography and electronic texts at the SAA or ACCUTE.  Though I can't
claim expertise on the issues, I invariably find them interesting.

So I do find it significant that at least some elements of Shakespeare's
style are measurably consistent across the (surviving) works, though
this hardly amounts to the sorts of powers of prognostication you seem
to claim for your method (odds greater than those produced by DNA or
finger-print matching, for instance).

Congratulations, by the way, on your tests of Milton and Shakespeare.
Did it come down, in part, to how we define words as unique?  In any
case, I should expect Milton to have the greater vocabulary, with his
polyglot education.

Yrs,
SKL.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.