Stylometry Workshop with Maciej Eder

January 30-31, 2017 (p402: Mo: 12:00-18:00; Tu: 9:00-12:00)

Stylometry, or analysis of countable linguistic features of (literary) texts, is usually associated with authorship attribution or, more sensationally, with the sole purpose of prosecuting plagiarists. However, recent studies show that the same methods that help attribute an ancient Greek text to Plato or put a plagiarist behind bars for forging an alleged play by Shakespeare can be used in a much broader context of literary study. Patterns of stylometric similarity and difference provide new insights into relationships between different books by the same author; between books by different authors, between authors differing in terms of chronology or gender; between translations of the same author or group of authors; helping, in turn, to find new ways of looking at works that seem to have been studied from all possible perspectives.

The workshop will try to address some of the following research questions: What is common in the language we use and what is related to cultural contexts and/or writer’s individuality? What elements of style are affected by literary period, genre, topic? What is unconsciously incorporated by the author and reflects his/her education, gender, religious background, social or historical conditions? Last but not least, which features of a written text can betray the person who wrote it despite his/her aesthetic, social, or historical conditions?

The Workshop will focus on tools based in the R statistical programming environment with user-friendly interfaces, so no expert knowledge of R in particular, or of programming in general is required, although general familiarity with R will be beneficial.

Maciej Eder is an associate professor at the Institute of Polish Language, Polish Academy of Sciences, and at the Pedagogical University, Krakow, Poland. He is interested in European literature of the Renaissance and the Baroque, classical heritage in early modern literature, and scholarly editing (his most recent book is a critical edition of 16th-century Polish translations of Dialogue of Salomon and Marcolf). For a couple of years, Eder has been focusing on digital methods applied to literary and linguistic studies, with special attention paid to computer-based stylometry and non-traditional authorship attribution. His work is now focused on a thorough re-examination of current attribution methods and applying them to non-English languages, e.g. Latin and Ancient Greek.