Highlights 💡: Who wrote Shamela?

Source: @burrows2005

Hinzugefügt am 2022-10-31

🟪 Highlight (p. 1) Shamela (1741) was published anonymously, one of many parodies of the first volume of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, which had appeared in the previous year. Henry Fielding

In each case, there is a main body of about a hundred thousand words for use as a procedural basis and a further range of independent test specimens. (p. 2)

Richardson’s fiction is always epistolary. It is couched, accordingly, in the first person with frequent recourse to the particular you to whom a given letter is addressed. Fielding, by contrast, unites impersonal narration with dialogue: his fiction, accordingly, covers the gamut of the common verbs and pronouns. (p. 5)

  • [b] Pronouns and narrative point of view may play a great role in identifying an author’s style

Delta procedure, where a specimen is matched against the work of many authors, we must turn away (p. 5)

common-word procedures (p. 5)

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the frequency-spectrum, there is a centuries-old history of tests treating of words that can reasonably be regarded as the property of a given target-author. (p. 6)

We all have our pet expressions; but we do not use all or even most of them whenever we pick up a pen. Their absence from a given text is therefore of less evidential weight than their presence. And even their presence does not count for much except through a cumulative impact. (p. 6)

But let us envisage a different approach, forsaking the quest for words peculiar to a given writer’s work and looking, instead, for those that recur there more often than they do in other writers. A little rule might be designed to collect all the words that recurred to a stipulated extent in a sizeable ‘base set’ of the target-author’s work. An accompanying rule would then exclude those among them that occurred too freely in the ‘counter-set’ of work by an appropriate group of other authors. A simple variant of the procedure (with which we shall begin) could be employed in cases where only two authors were involved. The object, one might say, is to give up the search for nuggets of pure gold and try processing lower-grade ore. (p. 6)

it may be best to adopt David Hoover’s more objective scheme of culling all word-types that occur disproportionately often in any one test-specimen. (p. 7)

As a parodist, not unexpectedly, Fielding is more successful in capturing elements of Richardson’s vocabulary than in abandoning his own. (p. 9)