Monthly Archives: July 2010

Genre Dependence on Character Ideolects

And yet, we know that when human beings are involved, all findings are provisional. Odd.

To extrapolate on Michael Witmore’s comments in his previous post, it is indeed odd how provisional our results are.  Case in point: I have been examining what John Burrows and Hugh Craig have called the ideolect of characters in connection with the plays in which these characters’ lines occur.  I stumbled upon this idea while looking at Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and asking how the characters of Romeo and Juliet help steer this play towards tragedy or comedy. (This was done for a panel I presented on with Witmore  and William Blake (Carnegie Mellon) at a digital salon hosted in at UW-Madison.  Prof. Witmore and Bill Blake are themselves working on an analysis of Hamlet without the prince, and the 1 Henry plays/Merry Wives of Windsor without Falstaff: we’re all interested in this kind of “subtraction experiment.”  Continue reading


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