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Activity Number: 533
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 12, 2015 : 10:30 AM to 12:20 PM
Sponsor: International Chinese Statistical Association
Abstract #315241 View Presentation
Title: Analyzing Walter Skeat's Forty-Five Parallel Extracts of William Langland's Piers Plowman
Author(s): Roger Bilisoly*
Companies: Central Connecticut State University
Keywords: Text Mining ; Clustering ; Edit distance ; Middle English ; Alliterative poetry

Walter Skeat published his critical edition of William Langland's 14th century alliterative poem, Piers Plowman, in 1886. In preparation for this he located forty-five manuscripts, and to compare dialects, he published excerpts from each of these. This paper does three statistical analyses using these excerpts, each of which mimics a task he did in writing his critical edition. First, he combined multiple versions of a poetic line to create a best line, which is compared to the mean string that is computed by a generalization of the arithmetic mean that uses edit distance. Second, he claims that a certain subset of manuscripts varies little. This is quantified by computing a string variance, which is closely related to the above generalization of the mean. Third, he claims that the manuscripts fall into three groups, which is a clustering problem that is addressed by using edit distance. The overall goal is to develop methodology that would be of use to a literary critic.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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