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Versification and Authorship Attribution

Versification and Authorship Attribution

Plecháč, Petr

subjects: literary criticism, mathematics and statistics

paperback, 96 pp., 1. edition
published: july 2021
ISBN: 978-80-246-4871-2
recommended price: 550 czk

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summary

Contemporary stylometry uses different methods to figure out a poem’s author based on features like the frequencies of words and character n-grams. However, there is one potential textual fingerprint it tends to ignore: versification. Using poetic corpora in three different languages (Czech, German and Spanish), this book asks whether versification features like rhythm patterns and types of rhyme can help determine authorship. It then tests its findings on two real-life unsolved literary mysteries. In the first, we distinguish the parts of the verse play The Two Noble Kinsmen written by William Shakespeare from those by his co-author, John Fletcher. In the second, we seek to solve a case of suspected forgery. How authentic was a group of poems first published as the work of the 19th-century Russian author Gavriil Stepanovich Batenkov?