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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
Stylometrics
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0948  Monday, 26 April 2004

[1]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <
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 >
        Date:   Friday, 23 Apr 2004 08:26:47 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0938 Stylometrics

[2]     From:   Michael Egan <
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 >
        Date:   Friday, 23 Apr 2004 08:04:39 -1000
        Subj:   Stylometrics

[3]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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 >
        Date:   Saturday, 24 Apr 2004 17:21:29 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0938 Stylometrics


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 23 Apr 2004 08:26:47 -0500
Subject: 15.0938 Stylometrics
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0938 Stylometrics

Marcus Dahl <
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 > writes,

 >Dear All,
 >
 >I have been meaning to 'answer' this one for ages so apologies for
 >lateness of my reply.

Bravo, well done, stout lad, etc.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Egan <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 23 Apr 2004 08:04:39 -1000
Subject:        Stylometrics

There could hardly be a more graphic illustration of the theoretical
limitations besetting stylometrics than the exclusion of Henry V from
Shakespeare's 'base-line plays' because 'so much of it is in French.'
(SHK 15.0940 Shakespeare Apocrypha.) In fact there's one short scene, a
few mangled words by Pistol and couple of expletives by the French lords
before Agincourt. By the same token one might as well exclude Hamlet
because so much of it is in philosophy, Lear because so much of it is in
rant, Romeo and Juliet because so much of it is expressed in antitheses,
almost all the comedies because so many are in verbal play and puns, and
so forth.

What's the reason for the exclusion of Timon? I almost fear to ask.

--Michael Egan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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 >
Date:           Saturday, 24 Apr 2004 17:21:29 +0100
Subject: 15.0938 Stylometrics
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0938 Stylometrics

I'm intrigued to know what Marcus Dahl meant by the following comment:

 >It is not like the publishing industry stops printing
 >works of 'Shakespeare' or people stop wanting to
 >know who wrote which plays when. Terence Hawkes
 >and the post-modernists are in the minority I am afraid. Most
 >people want to know - or at least know that they cannot
 >know (remember Godel everyone?).

Presumably that's Kurt Godel being alluded to, and what's curious is
that he's being used here in what seems an attack on postmodernism.
Usually one sees Godel's 'incompleteness theorem' being used to support
postmodernist thinking, and I'm trying to work out what Dahl meant by
the allusion. I don't want to rush off to Wales with the misconception
that Godel's work can be summarized with the platitude 'we can't know
everything'.

Gabriel Egan

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