Stylometry: Quantitative Investigation Into the Characteristics of an Author's Style

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Stylometry is a quantitative investigation into the characteristics of an author’s style. Lann (1995) defines the term as a technique “to grasp the often elusive character of an author's style, or at least part of it, by quantifying some of its features” (1995:271). Matthews and Merriam (1993) agree claiming “Stylometry attempts to capture quantitatively the essence of an individual’s use of language” (1993:203). To put it simply, stylometric analysis is an approach to the investigation of characteristics within literary works through numerical quantitative methods. The relationship between quantitative aspects and literary phenomena is very old. Numerous studies have attempted to explain the stylistic and linguistic properties of authors …show more content…
In the face of such contradictory views, the present study agrees with the results of the many studies indicating that stylometric studies-aided by modern computational tools- have had reasonable success in identifying the linguistic and stylistic characteristics of many authors and even in confirming the results of conventional criticism.
 Stylometry & Multivariate Analysis
Stylometric studies have begun to draw on multivariate analysis techniques for analysis (Binongo and Smith, 1999). The applications of multivariate analysis in stylometric studies date back to the sixties of the 20th century. This was when Mosteller and Wallace (1964), two American statisticians, employed statistical analysis to investigate the mystery of authorship of the Federalist papers in the early 1960s, using function words as discriminators. The approach succeeded in identifying the writers of the Federalist papers who tried to persuade the New York citizens to ratify the constitution (Mosteller and Wallace, 1984; Mosteller and Wallace, 1964). The success of work opened the way to the computerized age of stylometry.
Multivariate analysis applications in stylometry were subsequently developed by Burrows in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Burrows is one of the most prominent computational analysts of literary data. He revealed himself from the beginning as a scholar interested in studying the

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