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Searching with Style: Authorship Attribution in Classic Literature

By Ying Zhao and Justin Zobel


It is a truism of literature that certain authors have a highly recognizable style. The concept of style underlies the authorship attribution techniques that have been applied to tasks such as identifying which of several authors wrote a particular news article. In this paper, we explore whether the works of authors of classic literature can be correctly identified with either of two approaches to attribution, using a collection of 634 texts by 55 authors. Our results show that these methods can be highly accurate, with errors primarily for authors where it might be argued that style is lacking. And did Marlowe write the works of Shakespeare? Our preliminary evidence suggests not

Topics: Stylistics, authorship search, language modelling, document management
Year: 2006
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