[Humanist] 24.776 impediments to authorship attribution?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Mar 13 08:06:53 CET 2011

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 776.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2011 13:49:24 -0800 (PST)
        From: Tom Salyers <tsalyers at yahoo.com>
        Subject: Question for Humanist

[A question about a complex authorship problem]

I'm in the middle of my PhD thesis, which involves using stylometry for 
authorship attribution in collaboratively-written Elizabethan plays or (plays 
reworked by subsequent playwrights). I'm working on a chapter right now that 
revolves around how hard it is to distinguish one author's style from another 
when the original  manuscripts are unavailable. Since the texts from the period 
have  been through the hands of editors, compositors, etc., over the last four  
hundred years, trying to determine an author's individual style when  all traces 
of the original spelling, punctuation, lineation, and so on  have been lost is 
difficult at best and near-impossible at worst.

I'm trying to find sources that discuss this sort of problem. I'm looking in  
the usual places like JSTOR and the MLA Bibliography, and I've got one  
researcher's work I'm going to chase down (Joseph Rudman), but I was  wondering 
if anyone had any other good leads on this sort of thing.  Thanks in advance for 
any and all pointers.

Tom Salyers


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