The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1813 Monday, 4 October 2004
Date: Friday, 1 Oct 2004 17:18:37 +0100
Subject: 15.1797 "Bad" Quartos and Stylometrics
Comment: RE: SHK 15.1797 "Bad" Quartos and Stylometrics
>I may have asked about this before, but is it possible (and can I
>encourage folks to try) to run these various stylometric tests on chunks
>of the "bad quarto" texts? I realize they might have to be modernized
>or somehow regularized if your basic work is done on something
>relatively polished and regularized like the Riverside edition.
>Or would it be possible as a preliminary effort to run chunks of old
>spelling "good" texts against old spelling "bad" texts? Or even to see
>what happens when an old-spelling text with its early-modern
>irregularities gets held up next to its own modern spelling equivalent?
I have just completed a collaborative PhD project along with my
colleague Ms. Petersen at Bristol University, which included comparisons
of Quarto and Folio texts in original spelling using the VISL
grammatical parser, 87 linguistic tests and Principal Component /
Discriminant Analysis. General result is that Quarto texts are
overwhelmingly more 'Shakespearean' than not. i.e. if you were to
imagine that a text by Greene is 'non-Shakespearean' even if it had bits
which 'sounded' Shakespearean (or even - in a hypothetical case were
'written' by Shakespeare) the statistical evidence is that there is a
clear demarcation between the Shakespeare canon of 36 Folio and 21
Quarto texts and any other collection of texts by 22 different author
canons including Marlowe, Greene, Lodge, Nashe etc. The wider
Folio/Quarto Shakespeare canon (even including what Ward Elliott would
call outliers) is clearly separable from the canons of other authors or
All results were compared with chance prediction according to 95%
One qualification - the results are only the first stage of a wider
project and I personally would wish to continue to refine and extend the
versatility and security of the statistical attributions.
To access the database of grammatically parsed early modern texts go to
the VISL site: www.visl.sdu.dk
We hope to make more of the results public soon for amendment,
comparison and improvement.
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