Computers and the Humanities

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 271–283 | Cite as

By their (new) words shall ye know them: Edith Wharton, Marion Mainwaring, andThe Buccaneers

  • Lee Sigelman


Reviewers are sharply divided about the success with which Marion Mainwaring “completed” Edith Wharton's unfinished novelThe Buccaneers. To gauge the “seamlessness” of the fit between Wharton's portion of the novel and the chapters that Mainwaring added, the present study presents a chapter-by-chapter analysis of the ratio of new types (i.e., words that did not appear in previous chapters) to tokens. Analysis of Wharton's classic novelsThe House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, andThe Age of Innocence indicates that the ratio of new types to tokens followed a standard progression in her work. Analysis of Wharton's twenty-nine chapters ofThe Buccaneers indicates that here, too, she was following the same course. However, analysis of the “completed” version ofThe Buccaneers reveals that the substitution of Mainwaring for Wharton as author caused a decisive break from the well established pattern.

Key words

stylistic analysis type-token ratio vocabulary richness Edith Wharton 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee Sigelman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceThe George Washington UniversityWashington, D.C.USA

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