Week 6: Textual Analytics 2

Digital Humanities is finally going over my head. After a few weeks of practical DH that I have understood, i.e. HTML, XML and a little SEO, I am now out of my depth with stylometry.

So what is stylometry? It is a method of textual analysis that allows an author’s style to be examined by looking at function words. So far, so simple. However, there is nothing simple about counting how often “the”, “a”, “and”, etc turn up in a text. For this, potentially time-consuming, task, we were introduced to R and Studio R.

R is a software programme designed for stylometry but can be complicated for new starters, which is where Studio R comes in. After setting up Studio R, we were able to use it to analyse Shakespeare’s plays. These grouped largely as expected, into comedies, tragedies and histories with only a few anomalies. And that was where we left it as we, unfortunately, ran out of time.

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