The Cycle of News in Chronicles from Eighteenth Century Holland: A Stylometric Approach

Scholars agree that cultural changes in early modern Europe (c. 1500-1800) were both accompanied and precipitated by an information revolution. The use of printed media filtered down into local chronicles. These are hand-written narratives produced usually by middle class authors, that recorded events and phenomena they considered important (local politics, upheavals, climate, prices, crime, deaths). Authors frequently copied excerpts from earlier chronicles, official documents, local announcements and by-laws, and increasingly copied or inserted printed material, like ballads, pamphlets, and newspapers, without being explicit about the fact that they were copying (Pollmann 2016).This project will focus on automatically finding what parts of the chronicles contain the wordings of the chronicler him(/her)self and what parts might be copied. We will apply both close reading and computational stylometry techniques that are often used in authorship verification. Students will work in the framework of the NWO project Chronicling Novelty. New Knowledge in The Netherlands (1500-1850).

Supervisors: Roser Morante & Erika Kuijpers