Stylometry and US Literature
As a member of the Computational Stylistics Group in the Institute of Polish Studies at the Polish Academy of Sciences, I was engaged in two research projects in which stylometry, a DH method employed to establish text authorship, was used to determine quantitative relationships between texts. The first one was carried out under the auspices of an OPUS research grant “The Language of Eighteenth-Century American Colonial Sermons. A Rhetorical and Stylometric Analysis” OPUS 2014/13/B/HS2/00905 awarded by Polish National Science Center and carried out in the Institute of English Studies at the Jagiellonian University in 2015-2018 with Jan Rybicki as project director and me as a lead researcher. The aim of the project, in which we partnered with also with researchers from Yale University, was to apply stylometry for the study of ca. 300 sermons and speeches delivered and published in American colonies – in particular, the revival sermons of the Great Awakening period (1739–1744). The project sought to prove that the rhetorical features of revival sermons are inextricably linked with their genre as well as the cultural context in which they came into existence. The second stylometric research project was carried out at the DH Lab at the Universität Potsdam. That grant project “Network-Analysis and Spatial Stylometry in American Studies (NASSA)” was conducted in 2018-2020, and included 8 researchers (among others Dennis Mischke from Uni Potsdam, Jan Rybicki from IFA UJ, Maciej Eder from the Institute of Polish Language at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Tim Repke from Hasso Plattner Institute and Mathias Göbel from SUB-Göttingen). The seed-funding project was aimed at creating the infrastructure to establish cooperation between academic institutions regarding stylometric exploration of large collections of dramatic texts connected with American history.
1. Choiński M. and Rybicki J. (2017). Is God really angry at sinners? A stylometric study of Jonahan Edwards’s representations of God. In Bezzant, R. (ed.) The Global Edwards. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, pp. 349–59.
2. Choiński M. and Rybicki J. (2018). Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Foxcroft: Pursuing Stylometric Traces of the Editor. Amerikastudien, 63(2): 141–158.
Interviews and resources on stylometry:
1. An entry at LSU research blog
2. Article in Jagiellonian University “Academic Projector” (2021)
3. Jan Rybicki’s online lecture “Visualizing Literature: Trees, Maps and Networks”
4. Michał Choiński’s online lecture ”Studying Authorial Fingerprints”