The hundredth psalm to the tune of 'Green Sleeves'': digital approaches to the language of genre

Jonathan Hope, Michael Witmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this essay, we explore the underlying linguistic matrix of Shakespeare's dramatic genres using multivariate statistics and a text tagging device known as Docuscope, a hand-curated corpus of several million English words (and strings of words) that have been sorted into grammatical, semantic and rhetorical categories. Taking Heminges and Condell's designations of the Folio plays as comedies, histories and tragedies as our starting point, we offer a portrait of Shakespearean genre at the level of the sentence, showing how an identification of frequently iterated combinations of words (either in their presence or absence) can allow us to appreciate the integrity and fluidity of Shakespeare's genres in new ways. Calling this approach "iterative criticism," we situate our critical practice in the context of both Shakespearean criticism and more general protocols of reading in the humanities, concluding with a genre map of Shakespeare's plays in the context of 282 other early modern plays. In basing our re-reading of genre on statistical descriptions, we do not seek to replace subjective, humanistic reading with something more "objective." Rather, we want to use digital, iterative methods in order to be "consistently subjective"-to extend prosthetically our interpretative strategies across quantities of texts, and frequencies of feature, which we could not otherwise accommodate.
LanguageEnglish
Pages357-390
Number of pages34
JournalShakespeare Quarterly
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Fingerprint

Language
Psalms
William Shakespeare
Criticism
Critical Practice
Multivariate Statistics
Strings
Integrity
English Words
Tragedy
Fluidity
Rhetoric
William Shakespeare's Plays
Comedies
Humanistic
Rereading
Tagging
Folio
Designation
History

Keywords

  • shakespeare
  • shakespeare's language
  • digital humanities
  • linguistic matrix
  • shakespeare's dramatic genres
  • multivariate statistics
  • text-tagging device
  • DocuScope
  • english words
  • strings of words
  • grammatical
  • semantic
  • rhetorical

Cite this

Hope, Jonathan ; Witmore, Michael. / The hundredth psalm to the tune of 'Green Sleeves'' : digital approaches to the language of genre. In: Shakespeare Quarterly. 2010 ; Vol. 61, No. 3. pp. 357-390.
@article{58b49b15413e4f898c8e5a604182ceb1,
title = "The hundredth psalm to the tune of 'Green Sleeves'': digital approaches to the language of genre",
abstract = "In this essay, we explore the underlying linguistic matrix of Shakespeare's dramatic genres using multivariate statistics and a text tagging device known as Docuscope, a hand-curated corpus of several million English words (and strings of words) that have been sorted into grammatical, semantic and rhetorical categories. Taking Heminges and Condell's designations of the Folio plays as comedies, histories and tragedies as our starting point, we offer a portrait of Shakespearean genre at the level of the sentence, showing how an identification of frequently iterated combinations of words (either in their presence or absence) can allow us to appreciate the integrity and fluidity of Shakespeare's genres in new ways. Calling this approach {"}iterative criticism,{"} we situate our critical practice in the context of both Shakespearean criticism and more general protocols of reading in the humanities, concluding with a genre map of Shakespeare's plays in the context of 282 other early modern plays. In basing our re-reading of genre on statistical descriptions, we do not seek to replace subjective, humanistic reading with something more {"}objective.{"} Rather, we want to use digital, iterative methods in order to be {"}consistently subjective{"}-to extend prosthetically our interpretative strategies across quantities of texts, and frequencies of feature, which we could not otherwise accommodate.",
keywords = "shakespeare, shakespeare's language, digital humanities, linguistic matrix , shakespeare's dramatic genres , multivariate statistics , text-tagging device , DocuScope, english words, strings of words, grammatical, semantic, rhetorical",
author = "Jonathan Hope and Michael Witmore",
year = "2010",
doi = "10.1353/shq.2010.0002",
language = "English",
volume = "61",
pages = "357--390",
journal = "Shakespeare Quarterly",
issn = "0037-3222",
number = "3",

}

The hundredth psalm to the tune of 'Green Sleeves'' : digital approaches to the language of genre. / Hope, Jonathan; Witmore, Michael.

In: Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 3, 2010, p. 357-390.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The hundredth psalm to the tune of 'Green Sleeves''

T2 - Shakespeare Quarterly

AU - Hope, Jonathan

AU - Witmore, Michael

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - In this essay, we explore the underlying linguistic matrix of Shakespeare's dramatic genres using multivariate statistics and a text tagging device known as Docuscope, a hand-curated corpus of several million English words (and strings of words) that have been sorted into grammatical, semantic and rhetorical categories. Taking Heminges and Condell's designations of the Folio plays as comedies, histories and tragedies as our starting point, we offer a portrait of Shakespearean genre at the level of the sentence, showing how an identification of frequently iterated combinations of words (either in their presence or absence) can allow us to appreciate the integrity and fluidity of Shakespeare's genres in new ways. Calling this approach "iterative criticism," we situate our critical practice in the context of both Shakespearean criticism and more general protocols of reading in the humanities, concluding with a genre map of Shakespeare's plays in the context of 282 other early modern plays. In basing our re-reading of genre on statistical descriptions, we do not seek to replace subjective, humanistic reading with something more "objective." Rather, we want to use digital, iterative methods in order to be "consistently subjective"-to extend prosthetically our interpretative strategies across quantities of texts, and frequencies of feature, which we could not otherwise accommodate.

AB - In this essay, we explore the underlying linguistic matrix of Shakespeare's dramatic genres using multivariate statistics and a text tagging device known as Docuscope, a hand-curated corpus of several million English words (and strings of words) that have been sorted into grammatical, semantic and rhetorical categories. Taking Heminges and Condell's designations of the Folio plays as comedies, histories and tragedies as our starting point, we offer a portrait of Shakespearean genre at the level of the sentence, showing how an identification of frequently iterated combinations of words (either in their presence or absence) can allow us to appreciate the integrity and fluidity of Shakespeare's genres in new ways. Calling this approach "iterative criticism," we situate our critical practice in the context of both Shakespearean criticism and more general protocols of reading in the humanities, concluding with a genre map of Shakespeare's plays in the context of 282 other early modern plays. In basing our re-reading of genre on statistical descriptions, we do not seek to replace subjective, humanistic reading with something more "objective." Rather, we want to use digital, iterative methods in order to be "consistently subjective"-to extend prosthetically our interpretative strategies across quantities of texts, and frequencies of feature, which we could not otherwise accommodate.

KW - shakespeare

KW - shakespeare's language

KW - digital humanities

KW - linguistic matrix

KW - shakespeare's dramatic genres

KW - multivariate statistics

KW - text-tagging device

KW - DocuScope

KW - english words

KW - strings of words

KW - grammatical

KW - semantic

KW - rhetorical

UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/shakespeare_quarterly/

U2 - 10.1353/shq.2010.0002

DO - 10.1353/shq.2010.0002

M3 - Article

VL - 61

SP - 357

EP - 390

JO - Shakespeare Quarterly

JF - Shakespeare Quarterly

SN - 0037-3222

IS - 3

ER -