Style and Authenticity in Oratory


Mike Edwards (Royal Holloway University of London) []

Athanasios Efstathiou (Ionian University) [

Eleni Volonaki (University of the Peloponnese) []

Different methods of statistical stylistics have been applied since the middle of the 20th century in order to determine the author of an ancient literary work through the statistical recording of personal style, as well as for the description of different levels of style in ancient Greek prose texts. This new approach called Stylometry was developed by A. Morton, ‘The Authorship of Greek Prose’ (Journal of the Royal Statistical Society 128/2 (1965), 169-233), ‘The New Stylometry: A One-Word Test of Authorship for Greek Writer’ (CQ 22/1 (1972), 89-102, with S. Michaelson). Morton was among the first scholars who applied the Chi-Squared Test, one of the statistical hypothesis tests used by Corpus Linguistics, to Greek prose texts. His method was developed by K. J. Dover, ‘Style, Genre and Author’ (Illinois Classical Studies 19 (1994), 83-87). A different approach was adopted by S. Usher and D. Najock, ‘A Statistical Study of Authorship in the Corpus Lysiacum’ (Computers and the Humanities 16/2 (1982), 85-105), who compared the Chi-Squared test with the method of Cluster Analysis in order to identify the genuine speeches of the Corpus Lysiacum. However, all these attempts encountered serious difficulties, which led to invalid results, reinforcing the suspicion that the Chi-Squared Test, as well as the other statistical methods used in case of Ancient Greek Texts, was insufficient to identify the personal style of an author.

This panel aims to address afresh the question of style in the Attic orators and its importance as a factor in determining the authenticity or otherwise of disputed texts. Papers will be invited on a range of methodological approaches, from traditional philological analysis, to stylometry and Modern Corpus Linguistics, narratology, and the use of computerised data analysis. Thus, style will be examined as a significant and fundamental component of the rhetorical genre, with modern methods complementing ancient rhetorical theory and the literary analysis of scholars such as Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

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