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Spitzer on Racine, digitally revisited

Schöch, Christof

This paper revisits, with today's digital corpora and computational methods of text analysis, Léo Spitzer's famous stylistic reading of the tragedies of French seventeenth-century author Jean Racine [1]. Spitzer's analysis was first published in 1928 and richly illustrates the manifestations of a "dampening effect" ("effet de sourdine") which Spitzer claims is characteristic of Racine's poetic style. The present attempt to reimplement Spitzer's study reveals new insights not only into Racine's style, but also into the respective strengths and limitations of both approaches to stylistic analysis and to the contrasting notions of style which underpin them [2].

References:
* Spitzer, Leo. „Die klassische Dämpfung in Racines Stil“ [1928]. In: Romanische Stil- und Literaturstudien I, Marburg: Elwert, 1931, 135-268.
* Léo Spitzer, "L'effet de sourdine dans le style classique: Racine", Études de style. Paris: Gallimard, 1970, p. 208-335.
* J. Berenike Herrmann, Karina van Dalen-Oskam und Christof Schöch, „Revisiting Style, a Key Concept in Literary Studies“, Journal of Literary Theory, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 25-52, 2015.
* Rockwell, Geoffrey. „Replication as a way of knowing in the digital humanities“. Vortrag, Universität Würzburg, 27. April 2016.

 

 

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