Speaker: Andrea Peverelli (1,2), Marieke van Erp (2) and Jan Bloemendal (1)
Affiliation: (1) Huygens Institute, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185, 1012 DK Amsterdam, the Netherlands; (2) KNAW Humanities Cluster, DHLab, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 185, 1012 DK Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Title: The Process of Imitatio Through Stylometric Analysis: the Case of Terence’s Eunuchus
Abstract: The Early Modern Era is at the forefront of a widespread enthusiasm for Latin works: texts from classical antiquity are given new life, widely re-printed, studied and even repeatedly staged, in the case of dramas, throughout Europe. Also, new Latin comedies are again written in quantities never seen before (at least 10,000 works published 1500 to 1800 are known). The authors themselves, within the game of literary imitation (the process of imitatio), start to mimic the style of ancient authors, and Terence’s dramas in particular were considered the prime sources of reuse for many decades. Via a case study “the reception of Terence’s Eunuchus in Early Modern literature”, we take a deep dive into the mechanisms of literary imitation. Our analysis is based on four comedy corpora in Latin, Italian, French and English, spanning roughly 3 centuries (1400-1700). To assess the problem of language shift and multi-language inter-corpora analysis, we base our experiments on translations of the Eunuchus , one for each sub-corpus. Through the use of tools drawn from the field of Stylometry, we address the topic of text reuse and textual similarities between Terence’s text and Early-Modern corpora to get a better grasp on the internal fluctuations of the imitation game between Early Modern and Classical authors.