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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
Stylometrics
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0869  Wednesday, 14 April 2004

From:           Jonathan Hope <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Apr 2004 12:29:52 +0100
Subject: 15.0785 Stylometrics
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0785 Stylometrics

This is a very late response, but Terrence Hawkes has characteristically
distilled some of the common objections to stylometrics into a handy
snack-sized post.  Uncharacteristically, it's also superficial and
unthought through.

 >The defining character of stylometrics lies in its leaden-footed
 >plodding after that modern chimera, authenticity.

Completely wrong: working on stylometrics has taught me exactly why
'authenticity' is a problematic concept.

 >In the manufacture of
 >soul-gelding, buttock-clenching tedium, this is a pursuit that has few
 >equals.

'gelding' and 'buttock-clenching' in close proximity.  Dr Freud - anything?

 >No wonder. To shackle texts grimly to specific authors, is to
 >deny that they have overriding and unassignable imperatives and styles
 >of their own.

No 'taint, sir.  I didn't have you down as such a neo-romanticist.  Why
do you wish to grimly shackle texts to specific overriding and
unassignable imperatives and styles?

Jonathan Hope
Strathclyde University  http://www.sinrs.stir.ac.uk/

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