Computers and the Humanities

, Volume 23, Issue 4–5, pp 309–321 | Cite as

‘An ocean where each kind. . .’: Statistical analysis and some major determinants of literary style

  • J. F. Burrows
Article

Abstract

The statistical analysis of literary texts has yielded valuable results, not least when it has treated of the frequency patterns of very common words. But, whereas particular frequency patterns have usually been examined as discrete phenomena, it is possible to correlate the frequency profiles of all the very common words, to subject the resulting correlation matrix to eigen analysis, and to present the results in graphic form. The specimens offered here deal, first, with differences among Jane Austen's characters and, secondly, with differences between authors. The most striking general differences among the authors studied relate to historical eras and authorial gender.

Key Words

literary criticism stylistic analysis literary statistics 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. F. Burrows
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishThe University of NewcastleNew South WalesAustralia

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