The question of literary quality
A rhetorical and game-theoretical approach
Tom Deneire | Special Collections, University Library of Antwerp
David Eelbode | Department of Mathematics — Computer Sciences, University of Antwerp
This article explores the hermeneutic potential of mathematical game theory for the study of literary quality, thus advocating a rhetorical reconciliation between plain formalism and plain constructivism. If literary quality is constituted by mathematical parameters of literary quality, we should at least, conceptually, come to an agreement about how these parameters are interrelated, as this is necessary for a quantifiable methodology. The proposed method starts from Hotelling’s location game (but expands this to hyperspace) to advocate a feasible model for describing audience distribution in a calculable manner. Through the notion of the “middle position,” it is argued that the search for literary quality should try to find the right measure of a literary parameter in order to be successful. The article concludes with a survey of caveats and potential pitfalls, which should inspire a cautious, yet confident, application of the proposed methodology.
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