1st Edition

Modes of Composition and the Durability of Style in Literature

By David Hoover Copyright 2021
    238 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    238 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Modes of Composition and the Durability of Style employs the tools and methods of computational stylistics to show that style is extremely resistant to changes in how texts are produced. Addressing an array of canonical writers, including William Faulkner, Joseph Conrad, Thomas Hardy, and Henry James, along with popular contemporary writers like Stephen King and Ian McEwan, this volume presents a systematic study of changes in mode of composition and writing technologies. Computational analysis of texts produced in multiple circumstances of composition, such as dictation, handwriting, typewriting, word processing, and translation, reveals the extraordinary durability of authorial style. Modes of Composition and the Durability of Style in Literature will be essential for readers interested in exploring the rapidly expanding field of digital approaches to literature.

    1 Modes of Composition and the Durability of Literary Style

    2 A Proof of Concept: Identifying Differences in Style

    3 Changing Back and Forth from Handwriting to Dictation: Thomas Hardy, Walter Scott, and Joseph Conrad

    4 Changing Over from Handwriting to Dictation or Typing: Booth Tarkington and William Faulkner

    5 Changing Over from Handwriting or Typing to Word Processing: Arthur Clarke, Octavia Butler, Stanley Elkin, and Ian McEwan

    6 The Durability of Change: Handwriting, Dictation, and Style Evolution in Henry James

    7 The Durability of Stephen King’s Style

    8 Why a Change in Mode is Not Enough: Translation and the Radical Durability of Style

    9 Conclusion


    David L. Hoover, Professor of English at New York University, holds a Ph.D. in English Language from Indiana University. He is Project Partner, “Quantitative Criticism,” Universität Stuttgart; Co-Investigator, “Distant Reading for European Literary History” (COST); and Advisor, “The Riddle of Literary Quality” (Netherlands). He is the author of “Simulations and Difficult Problems” (2019) and “The Microanalysis of Style Variation” (2017) in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, and Digital Literary Studies (with Culpeper and O’Halloran, Routledge, 2014).