Computation into criticism: a study of Jane Austen's novels and an experiment in method
Most readers and critics behave as though common prepositions, conjunctions, personal pronouns, and articles--the parts of speech which make up at least a third of fictional works in English--do not really exist. But far from being a largely inert linguistic mass which has a simple but uninteresting function, these words and their frequency of use can tell us a great deal about the characters who speak them. In Computation into Criticism, he reveals that even in so early a novel as Northanger Abbey the major characters differ very sharply in the frequency with which each uses such words as "the," "of," "it," and "I." When, especially in the later novels, there is evidence of consistent and meaningful change in even the simplest idioms of the heroines, it becomes possible to study character development in an even clearer light than before. What emerges from this fascinating study is not a game with numbers, but rather the groundwork for more authoritative literary judgments.
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A Set of Pronouns
The Chisquared Test as a Register of Significant
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8ates Admira1 Croft Anne Stee1e Austen's major characters Awkward Age character narrative Chawton chi-squared Churchi11 Co11ins coefficients Collins common words comparatively contrast correlation correlation-coefficients Darcy differences differentiation distinction E1eanor Ti1ney E1ton EDMUND EDWARD FERRARS eigen-map EL1ZA8ETH Elizabeth Bennet Elton Emma Emma's evidence Fanny Fanny's Frank Churchill frequency-hierarchy Gardiner Georgette Heyer Harriet Smith HENRY T1LNEY heroines Howards End idiolects idioms incidence Jane Austen's dialogue Jane Austen's major Jane Austen's novels Jennings John Dashwood John Thorpe Knightley Knightley's Lady Bertram Lady Catherine language less linguistic literary Lucy Stee1e Lydia Bennet Mansfield Park Marianne Mary Crawford Mary Musgrove mean Miss Bates Norris Northanger Abbey Nove1s novelists overall passage pattern Pride and Prejudice pronouns pure narrative range relationships resemblances rolling phases Sanditon scores segments Sense and Sensibility shows Sir Thomas six novels speaking-parts statistical analysis sub-idiolects thirty most common Tilney Vector WENTW9RTH Weston Wi11oughby Wickham Woodhouse word-types z-scores