17.577 Shakespeare

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Jan 28 2004 - 03:43:26 EST

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 577.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

   [1] From: Anders Klitgaard <zyberscribe@YAHOO.COM> (121)
         Subject: Shakespeare and the Internet

   [2] From: "Mazzali-Lurati Sabrina" <sabrina.mazzali- (81)
         Subject: RIF: 17.557 Shakespeare et al. and the new "science"?

         Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2004 08:15:07 +0000
         From: Anders Klitgaard <zyberscribe@YAHOO.COM>
         Subject: Shakespeare and the Internet

To the author of the original thread:
If you have not yet subscribed to SHAKSPER, as I suggested you might
do, there were two replies to your post in yesterday's SHAKSPER digest.
(Your message was cross-posted from HUMANIST to SHAKSPER, though not by
me.) I post the replies below.
Best regards

From: R. A. Cantrell <racan@flash.net>
Date: Friday, 23 Jan 2004 10:42:37 -0600

>I'm working at the connection between Shakespeare and the new
>world. I 'm looking for a list of new technologically most used
>resources in the studying and analyzing of humanities and literature.
>Also articles, opinions, reviews, methods, way of looking forward
>new "science".
>Can anyone give me a hand?

You've hit upon a happy phrase "New Science." It may be a few years coming,
but Stephen Wolfram's "New Kind of Science," will, I think, have a
staggering impact on stylometrics and other quantitative analytical
approaches to Shakespeare (inter alia).

From: Ward Elliott <ward.elliott@claremontmckenna.edu>
Date: Friday, 23 Jan 2004 18:54:12 -0800
Subject: RE: SHK 15.0170 Shakespeare et al. and the New

I can't tell whom I'm supposed to respond to on this, so shall just hit
the reply button.

Rob Valenza and I have experimented several times over the years testing
various student groups' powers to guess authorship by intuition alone. In
2002, as if in anticipation of the many warnings we have since gotten from
Shaksperians to ditch our unseemly crunching and counting and get back to
reading, we tested a class of 12 Claremont McKenna College undergraduates
with a selection of 28 sonnet-length passages, half by Shakespeare, half
not. As individuals, the students were all over the place, doing, on
average, modestly better than chance, which would be around 50%. Half of
the students, however, did much better than chance, getting 70-79% of the
ascriptions correct. Moreover, as a group, the whole class guessed better
than the best of its individual Golden Ears, better, in fact, than the
aggregated vote of all six of its Golden Ears.
    Some accuracy rates:

Worst individual: 54% correct
Best individual 79% correct
6 best combined 84% correct
All 12 combined 89% correct

18 of the group's 25 successful identifications (72%) were by lopsided
votes, 8-4 or higher.

How does this accuracy compare with that of our best quantitative tests?
"Far higher" would be a persuasive answer for such short, Sonnet-length
samples. All of our quantitative tests are sensitive to sample length
because longer samples average out more variance than shorter ones, giving
us tighter ranges and higher discrimination for long samples than for
short. Most of the samples we used in our Golden Ear test have no more
than 150 words, far shorter than any for which we have dared to validate
any of our quantitative tests. For comparison, our current estimated
composite accuracy rates for longer, single-authored passages look
something like this:

Text Shakespeare Non-Shakespeare

Whole plays 100% 100%
Poems, 3000 words 100% 100%
Play Verse, 3000 wd 95% 100%
Poems 750 words 93% 71%
Play Verse 750 words 97% 75%
Poems, 470 words 92% 73%

These figures say that 470-word passages are at or below the rock bottom of
our comfort zone, with a combined accuracy of around 83% -- yet our
students, in aggregate, have achieved accuracy of 89% on pure intuition.
    It's true that, by itself, these results would not be quite enough to
validate CMC students' intuition by the same rules that we use to validate
computer tests. Because we rely on negative evidence ("silver bullets"),
our accuracy requirements have been asymmetrical. We have looked for much
higher accuracy - normally 95% or better -- in saying "could-be" to
Shakespeare than in saying "couldn't be" to non-Shakespeare, on the
reasoning that, if you test by primarily by negatives, false negatives are
much more damaging to your case than false positives, and you should keep
them to a minimum. Unfortunately for us, the tested class got only 82% of
their Shakespeare passages right, far too many false negatives to make up
for their phenomenal accuracy of 96% with non-Shakespeare passages. We
wish it had been the other way around.

Moreover, while it is conceivable that using longer passages would raise
our Golden-Ear accuracy (though many of our lit colleagues doubt it), it's
hard to imagine that we could ever get test-takers to sit still for a test
with, say, 28 3,000-word passages instead of 28 100+word passages. Such a
test would be equal in length to Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and The
Comedy of Errors combined and would take more than a day just to read, let
alone analyze, in entirety. In general, the longer the passages, the fewer
can be tested without performing miracles of motivation. From this
perspective, Golden-Ear testing may be almost as impractical for wholesale
testing of long passages as computers are for testing short passages.

These points aside, our pilot study still seems to us an impressive
performance by undergraduates and an impressive clue as to what might be
done with more and better panelists. What if, instead of a dozen
undergraduates, it were every interested SHAKSPERian? Or every interested
SHAKSPERian who scores above a certain level on a standardized Golden-Ear
test, whichever produces the best combination of aggregation and selection?

Such analysis is screaming to be done on the net, and it might well cast
new light on authorship questions left unanswered by computers and
individual "sniff-testing." To make it work, we, or someone else, would
have to put a Golden-Ear test on line for a group like Shaksper and do some
analysis of the results. Last year, with quite a bit of trial and error,
we managed to get our test up and running on the net, and Weston Thompson,
CMC's web editor, is now working on ways to record the results for
analysis. When it's ready to go, SHAKSPERians will be among the first to
know, and will be invited to give our test, and their Golden Ears, a trial
run. We hope it will be sooner, rather than later.

In the meantime, if someone is looking for innovative uses of the web for
teaching and learning more about Shakespeare, we've got one on the way.

Ward Elliott

S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, editor@shaksper.net
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

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         Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2004 08:19:54 +0000
         From: "Mazzali-Lurati Sabrina" <sabrina.mazzali-lurati@lu.unisi.ch>
         Subject: RIF: 17.557 Shakespeare et al. and the new "science"?

In my Ph.D. thesis I studied hypertextual transpositions, that is,
hypermedial applications devoted to the presentation of given "classical"
literary works. I considered some concrete examples, which appear to be
good resources for the study of literature through new technologies. They
constitute only a very restricted sample of such kind of applications, but
I provide their references hoping that this can help Max Burani.

Websites or CD-Roms presenting Shakespeare's plays:

Webscuola ­ Amleto.. ­ Available at <>.
Hamlet on the Ramparts ­ MIT. ­ Available at <h
BBC Shakespeare on CD-ROM. Macbeth. ­ London: BBC Education: HarperCollins,
coop. 1995.
Macbeth. ­ The Voyager Company, cop. 1994.

William Shakespeare's Macbeth ­ Bride Digital Classsic. Bride Media
International, cop. 1999.
Midsummer Night's Dream ­ Lingo.uib, Universitetet i Bergen. Available at
BBC Shakespeare on CD-ROM. A midsummer night's dream. ­London: BBC
Education: HarperCollins, cop. 1996.
Interactive Shakespeare. ­ Available at
<http://www.holycross.edu/departments/theatre/projects/isp/> >.
William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet ­ Bride Digital Classiic. Bride Media
International, cop. 1999.

Websites or CD-Roms devoted to other literary works:

Dartmouth Dante Project. ­ Available at
<http://dciswww.dartmouth.edu:50080/?&&&7&s> >.
The Decameron Web. ­ Available at
<http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Italian_Studies/dweb/> >.
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. ­ Available at
<http://www.jaffebros.com/lee/gulliver> >.

The World of Dante. ­ Available at <http://www.iath.virginia.edu/dante/
<http://www.iath.virginia.edu/dante/> >.
Princeton Dante Project. ­ Available at
<http://etcweb.princeton.edu/dante/index.html> >.
La Divina Commedia: [Inferno]: un viaggio interattivo alla scoperta del
capolavoro dantesco. ­ Milano: Rizzolii New Media, cop. 2001.

ILTweb Digital Dante. ­ Available at <http://dante.ilt.columbia.edu/>.
Webscuola LâInferno dantesco. ­ Available at
<http://webscuola.tin.it/risorse/inferno/index.htm> >.
The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. A Hypertext Edition by Steven
E. Jones. ­ Available at
<http://www.rc.umd.edu/editions/mws/lastman/index.html> >.
Odissea ­ Milano: Rizzoli New Media, cop. 2001.
The Electronic Canterbury Tales. ­ Available at
<http://cwolf.uaa.alaska.edu/~afdtk/ECT_Main.htm> >.
Virtual Seminars for Teaching Literature ­ The Seminars. ­ Available at
<http://info.ox.ac.uk/jtap/ <hhttp://info.ox.ac.uk/jtap/> >.

Other resources:

Eastgate. ­ Available at <http://www.eastgate.com
<htttp://www.eastgate.com/> >.
Il Narratore. ­ Available at <http://www.ilnarratore.com
<http://www.ilnarratore.com/> >.
MagillOnLiterature [electronic resource] [Ipswich, MA]: EBSCO Industries,
c2001. ­ Available at <http:://search.epnet.com <http://search.epnet.com/> >.
The Perseus Digital Library. ­ Available at <http://www.persseus.tufts.edu/
<http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/> >.
Representative Poetry on-line. ­ Available at
<http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/intro.html> >.
Social Studies School Services. ­ Available at
<http://www.socialstudies..com/ <http://www.socialstudies.com/> >.
Voice of the Shuttle. ­ Available at <http://vos.ucsb.edu/
<http://voos.ucsb.edu/> >.
Websites created and managed by George P. Landow. ­ Available at
<http://www.landow.com/ <htttp://www.landow.com/> >.

Sabrina Mazzali-Lurati

Institute for Linguistics and Semiotics
School of Communication Sciences
Universita della Svizzera italiana
Via G. Buffi 13
CH-6900 Lugano

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