365 Days of Shakespeare

That's right – the Bard in a year.

85. Searching for Shakespeare’s fingerprint…

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Okay, what exactly is the point of counting the number of words and the frequency of words Shakespeare used? Apparently, it’s to create a “linguistic fingerprint”. A study in the New Journal of Physics claims that every writer has a unique one which can be used to create a “unique word curve”….their fingerprint.

This article breaks it down for those of us who are going “…and?” quite well. While it might seem kind of lame to get all excited about a computer that can count – as though that’s such a remarkable talent for a computer – consider this: it might help determine authorship for Shakespeare’s works, an endless debate.

While I agree that literature ought to be analyzed from a literary perspective, I can understand that this program has its uses. If nothing else, perhaps it can be used in plagiarism lawsuits. Or I can go back in time, take it with me, and prove to my 7th-grade history teacher that I did write that paper, even though he thought it was too good for me to have written it. Jerk. Anyway. I think this program certainly has its uses, I just hope we all continue to view literature with a reader’s eye instead of a computerized one.

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Written by Caroline Mincks

December 24, 2009 at 2:33 PM

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