The Computation of Style

An Introduction to Statistics for Students of Literature and Humanities

Edited By

  • A. Kenny, Balliol College, Oxford, UK

Each year more and more scholars are becoming aware of the importance of the statistical study of literary texts. The present book is the first elementary introduction in English for those wishing to use statistical techniques in the study of literature. Unlike other introductions to statistics, it specifically emphasizes those techniques most useful in literary contexts and gives examples of their application from literary and linguistic material. The text is aimed at those with the minimum of mathematical background and gives exercises for the student and relevant statistical tables.
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Of interest to students of literature and humanities.


Book information

  • Published: June 1982
  • Imprint: PERGAMON
  • ISBN: 978-0-08-024281-1


The Computation of Style has a number of strong points. Several of Kenny's statistical chapters are excellent; they are lucidly written and made relevant to the study of literature. There is an admirable balance between theory and application and between description and interpretations of data.

Table of Contents

(partial) Preface. The statistical study of literary style. Distributions and graphs measures of central tendency. Measures of variability. The measurability of literary phenomena. Correlation and bivariate distributions. From sample to population. Testing for significance. The comparison of means. The analysis of variance. Theoretical distributions and the theory of sampling. The practices of literary sampling. Tables.