Computers and the Humanities

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 449–461 | Cite as

Shakespeare vs. fletcher: A stylometric analysis by radial basis functions

  • David Lowe
  • Robert Matthews


In this paper we show, for the first time, how Radial Basis Function (RBF) network techniques can be used to explore questions surrounding authorship of historic documents. The paper illustrates the technical and practical aspects of RBF's, using data extracted from works written in the early 17th century by William Shakespeare and his contemporary John Fletcher. We also present benchmark comparisons with other standard techniques for contrast and comparison.

Key words

neural networks stylometric analysis Shakespeare Fletcher discrimination classification 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Broomhead, D. S. and David Lowe. “Multi-variable Functional Interpolation and Adaptive Networks”.Complex Systems, 2, 3 (1988), 269–303.Google Scholar
  2. Girosi, F., M. Jones and T. Poggio. “Regularization Theory and Neural Network Architectures”.Neural Computation, 7, 2 (1995), 219–269.Google Scholar
  3. Hart, A. “Shakespeare and the Vocabulary of The Two Noble Kinsmen”. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1934.Google Scholar
  4. Haykin, S. “Neural Networks: A Comprehensive Foundation“. (Chapter 7: Radial Basis Function Networks). Macmillan, 1994.Google Scholar
  5. Horton, T. B.The Effectiveness of the Stylometry of Function Words in Discriminating between Shakespeare and Fletcher. Doctoral Thesis. University of Edinburgh, 1987.Google Scholar
  6. Hoy, C. “The Shares of Fletcher and his Collaborators. In the Beaumont and Fletcher Canon (VIII)”.Studies in Bibliography, 15 (1956), 129–146.Google Scholar
  7. Lowe, D. “What Have Neural Networks to Offer Statistical Pattern Processing”.SPIE Proceedings on Adaptive Signal Processing 1565 (1991), 460–71.Google Scholar
  8. Lowe, D. and A. R. Webb “Optimized Feature Extraction and the Bayes Decision in Feed-forward Classifier Networks”.Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 13, 4 (1991), 355–64.Google Scholar
  9. Lowe, D. “Novel ‘Topographic’ Nonlinear Feature Extraction using Radial Basis Functions for Concentration Coding in the ‘Artificial Nose’”.3rd IEE International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks, Conference Publication number 372, (1993), pp. 95–99.Google Scholar
  10. Matthews, R. A. J. and T. V. N. Merriam. “Neural Computation in Stylometry I: An application to the works of Shakespeare and Fletcher”.Literary and Linguistic Computing, 8, 4 (1993), 203–209.Google Scholar
  11. Merriam, T. V. N. “Modelling a Canon: Principles and Examples in Applied Statistics”. Doctoral Thesis. University of London, 1992.Google Scholar
  12. Metz, G. H., ed.Sources of Four Plays Ascribed to Shakespeare. Colombia: University of Missouri Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  13. Moody J. and C. Darken. “Fast Learning in Networks of Locally Tuned Processing Units”.Neural Computation, 1, 2 (1989), 281–94.Google Scholar
  14. Niranjan, M. and F. Fallside. “Neural Networks and Radial Basis Functions in Classifying Static Speech Patterns”.Computers, Speech and Language, 4 (1990), 275–89.Google Scholar
  15. Park, J. and I. W. Sandberg. “Universal Approximation using Radial Basis Function Networks”.Neural Computation, 3 (1991), 246–257.Google Scholar
  16. Powell, M. J. D. “The Theory of Radial Basis Function Approximation in 1990”. InAdvances in Numerical Analysis. Vol II: Wavelets, Subdivision Algorithms and Radial Basis Functions. Ed. W. A. Light. Oxford University Press, 1992, 105–210.Google Scholar
  17. Proudfoot, G. R., ed. “The Two Noble Kinsmen”. London: Edward Arnold, 1970.Google Scholar
  18. Rao Vemuri, V. and R. D. Rogers, eds.Artificial Neural Networks: Forecasting Time Series. IEEE Computer Society Press, 1994.Google Scholar
  19. Schoenbaum, S., ed.The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth. New York: The New American Library, 1967.Google Scholar
  20. Taylor, G. “The Canon and Chronology of Shakespeare's Plays”. InWilliam Shakespeare: A Textual Companion. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Lowe
    • 1
  • Robert Matthews
    • 1
  1. 1.Neural Computing Research GroupAston UniversityBirminghamEngland

Personalised recommendations