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Lecture Series: Jeroen De Gussem

March 13 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Jeroen De Gussem has a master’s degree in philology (Latin-English), and is a joint PhD student on the BOF  project “Collaborative Authorship in Twelfth Century Latin Literature: A Stylometric Approach to Gender, Synergy and Authority” (2015-2019), supervised by prof. dr. Mike Kestemont (UAntwerp), prof. dr. Jeroen Deploige (Ghent University) and prof. dr. Wim Verbaal (Ghent University). The project seeks to reassess the collaborative process by which twelfth-century Latin prose authors such as Bernard of Clairvaux, Hildegard of Bingen, Peter Abelard and Suger of St. Denis were accustomed to compose their works by using computational stylistics, an increasingly popular field within Digital Humanities.

The Exalted Expert vs. The Exact Experiment: Authorship Attribution, Stylometry and Literary Theory.

In his presentation, Jeroen will confront traditional methods of authorship attribution with more recent computational methods for determining the authorship of a text. How does “distant reading” (as coined by Franco Moretti) teach us anything about literature and the way in which it is composed? Can computational formalism (or perhaps computational stylistics) capture “style” by focusing on a so-called “stylome”, a collection of features in an authors’ personal language use which can be quantified as data and visualized in attractive figures? Where does computational stylistics succeed where traditional stylistics have failed, and vice versa? Are computational stylistics as “objective” (or “unsupervised”) as they purport to be, or do our results only reflect the answers we were hoping to find?

In meandering through such questions, it becomes clear that – although they seem very different at the outset – the “exalted expert” from historical text editing and literary theory is but little different to the “exact experiment”. Yet, both methods serve a distinctive purpose and deserve their respective position within literary theory.

Attending the event is free and open to all, but registration is required. Please register by sending an email to platformdh@uantwerpen.be.


March 13
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Prinsstraat 13
Antwerpen, Antwerpen 2000 Belgium
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