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Published November 18, 2022 | Version v1
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Computational Genre Analysis (in: The Dragonfly's Gaze)

  • 1. University of Trier, Germany


Genre is, like authorship or time period, one of a number of fundamental categories allowing authors and readers as well as literary scholars to endow the vast field of literary production with some internal structure. Genre is not specific to literature, of course: whether we consider painting, music or cinema, genre as an intermediary category situated between individual works and an entire artform is always a relevant category. Unlike theme or style, literary genre is not in itself a level of analysis; rather, different levels of analysis such as theme or style can be used to describe and distinguish genres.

The aim of this chapter is to introduce to the analysis of genre with quantitative, computational methods. First, the chapter will discuss what literary genres are and which aspects of genre may be studied quantitatively. Second, some issues relevant to building text collections for genre analysis are presented. Then, several example analyses are discussed, all based on the idea that computational genre analysis can be conducted from a contrastive perspective – that is, by comparing texts belonging to a genre of interest to texts from other, related genres.



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