Quantification and the language of later Shakespeare

Jonathan Hope, Michael Witmore

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In this paper we consider the status of quantitative evidence in literary studies, with an example from our own work using the software package Docuscope to investigate chronological ‘periods’ in Shakespeare’s career. We argue that quantitative evidence has a function in literary studies, not as an end in itself, but as a starting point for traditional interpretative literary analysis. In our example, we show that linguistic analysis suggests three periods in Shakespeare’s career, defining a ‘period’ as a group of plays with similar linguistic features. We focus on the latest period, as this is the largest, and suggest that the ‘late style’ of Shakespeare may begin much earlier than traditionally thought. We analyse the features that the later plays share, and argue that from the late 1590s Shakespeare can be seen to be adopting features which are (a) closer to speech, and (b) indicate a shift from real-world denotation to a focus on communicating the subjectivity of the speaker.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociété Française Shakespeare Actes du Congres 2014
EditorsChristophe Hausermann
Place of PublicationParis
Pages123-149
Number of pages26
Volume31
Edition2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Language
Quantification
William Shakespeare
Literary Studies
Literary Analysis
Subjectivity
Late Period
Linguistic Analysis
Software
1590s
Late Style
Linguistic Features
Real World
Denotation

Keywords

  • shakespeare
  • quantitative analysis

Cite this

Hope, J., & Witmore, M. (2014). Quantification and the language of later Shakespeare. In C. Hausermann (Ed.), Société Française Shakespeare Actes du Congres 2014 (2014 ed., Vol. 31, pp. 123-149). Paris.
Hope, Jonathan ; Witmore, Michael. / Quantification and the language of later Shakespeare. Société Française Shakespeare Actes du Congres 2014. editor / Christophe Hausermann. Vol. 31 2014. ed. Paris, 2014. pp. 123-149
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Hope, J & Witmore, M 2014, Quantification and the language of later Shakespeare. in C Hausermann (ed.), Société Française Shakespeare Actes du Congres 2014. 2014 edn, vol. 31, Paris, pp. 123-149.

Quantification and the language of later Shakespeare. / Hope, Jonathan; Witmore, Michael.

Société Française Shakespeare Actes du Congres 2014. ed. / Christophe Hausermann. Vol. 31 2014. ed. Paris, 2014. p. 123-149.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Hope J, Witmore M. Quantification and the language of later Shakespeare. In Hausermann C, editor, Société Française Shakespeare Actes du Congres 2014. 2014 ed. Vol. 31. Paris. 2014. p. 123-149