Style in nineteenth century fiction
A Multi-Dimensional analysis
Recent years have seen substantial advances in ‘corpus stylistics’, which is the use of corpora and computational techniques to study literary style. Corpus stylistics has produced analyses of otherwise imperceptible features of literary style. However, studies in corpus stylistics have rarely considered the full set of core linguistic features. The present study explores literary style through the application of Multi-Dimensional analysis. Stylistic variation along three dimensions is accounted for using a large, principled corpus of fiction. The dimensions of variation are interpreted as ‘Thought Presentation versus Description’, ‘Abstract Exposition versus Concrete Action’, and ‘Dialogue versus Narrative’. These three dimensions are then used to compare the styles of nineteenth-century fiction between authors, and the range of stylistic variation among the novels of individual authors. The findings are interpreted qualitatively and with reference to previous analyses of author style.
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