Project information
Abstract: 

The research project focuses on the authorship, composition and textual interconnectedness of three 16th-century mystical texts, all of which are believed to have emerged from a group of female/male writers we now call “the Arnhem mystics”. These texts, Die evangelische peerle, Vanden tempel onser sielen and the Arnhem mystical sermons, are all in some way connected to the St. Agnes convent in Arnhem. Similarities between the three can be found on a lexical, semantic, conceptual and stylistic level, but differences exist both within and between the texts. Two texts, the Peerle and the Tempel,  have been attributed to to the same author. However, because of the notable textual dissimilarities there are good reasons to doubt this supposition. The third text, a collection entitled the Arnhem mystical sermons, could also very well have been written by several individuals, amongst whom we cannot exclude the writer(s) of the Tempel and Peerle. The aim of this project is twofold. First, it hopes to gain insight in the (in-)consistency within the different texts and the interconnectedness between them. Rather than trying to attribute them to a single, author, identifiable by name, the project aims at a deeper understanding of the textual culture and the production of original texts in the milieu of the Arnhem mystics, with the help of both close reading and stylometry. Several stylometric methods, such as quantative stylometric analysis for authorship attribution and supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods will be used in the textual research.Second, in combining these methods, the project hopes to further the effectiveness and applicability in literary studies of computational techniques. As a result, it will try to show that the combination of stylometric methodology and the more traditional method of close reading is especially useful to gain deeper and more understanding of the interconnectedness of a group of texts.

Project Leader(s): 
Walter Daelemans
Period: 
01/07/2012
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