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Stylometry-based Analysis of Potential Louisa May Alcott Pseudonyms

Partially supported by a NULab Seedling Grant.

Before writing Little Women, Louisa May Alcott wrote gothic, sensational tales under a pseudonym, and new circumstantial evidence suggests that she may have written even more stories under yet another pseudonym, E. H. Gould. With the support from the NULab Seeding Grant, this project begins the work of stylometric analysis to consider whether digital methods provide proof (or disproof) that the pseudonym was Alcott. 

First, the project will develop the corpus of texts, very few of which are digitized (early Alcott texts, Gould texts, and contemporary control texts), by turning the nineteenth-century image files of crumbling newspapers into text files. The digitization process itself will enrich the existing nineteenth-century periodical archive. Next, the project will bring to bear stylometric analysis to compare the three groups of stories. The analysis of the digitized texts promises to provide new evidence to suggest whether or not Alcott wrote under this additional pseudonym Gould.

Principal Investigator

Max Chapnick, Postdoctoral Fellow, English

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