Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Style and chronology: a stylometric investigation of Aphra Behn’s dramatic style and the dating of The Young King
Authors: Evans, Mel
First Published: 11-May-2018
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US), Poetics and Linguistics Association
Citation: Language and Literature, 2018, 27(2), pp. 103 - 132
Abstract: Aphra Behn’s dramatic outputs are recognised for their diversity and responsiveness to trends in Restoration drama. A stylometric approach is used to investigate the linguistic dimension of Behn’s dramatic style, with a particular focus on evidence of chronological change. Quantitative analysis (most frequent words, function words, zeta) suggest that Behn’s drama falls into three periods. A qualitative analysis indicates that the periodisation may reflect a change in the construction of Behn’s dramatic worlds, from an abstract psychological focus to a more grounded, interactive and social representation. The study considers the problematic dating of Behn’s tragi-comedy The Young King. Although critical opinion holds that this play was the first that Behn wrote (i.e. pre-1670), the stylometric analysis suggests that Behn heavily revised, or indeed, penned, the drama in the mid-to-late 1670s, mid-way through her writing career. The paper demonstrates the potential for stylochronometric techniques to complement other linguistic approaches to style, and enhance our understanding of how literary writing evolves.
DOI Link: 10.1177/0963947018772505
ISSN: 0963-9470
eISSN: 1461-7293
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publications (UK and US), Poetics and Linguistics Association. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy. (
Description: The textual data used for the present analysis will be available through the public-facing project website
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, College of Arts, Humanities & Law

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
StyleandChronology_MainDocument_RevisedMarch2018.pdfPost-review (final submitted author manuscript)394.08 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in LRA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.