Mike Kestemont 先生（Universiteit Antwerpen）にご登壇いただくことになりました。
The wandering verse: The computational study of intertextuality in medieval romances
Medieval narrative fiction, such as the Arthurian romance, ranks among the most enduring cultural traditions across the globe. This literature challenges modern conceptions about originality because medieval narratives were highly traditional: authors carefully had to embed their works in existing traditions, using, for instance, conventionalized language and formulas. Creativity, especially in writing style, was bound to a more restricted range than we are presently used to. In spite of this stylistic convergence, literary success in the Middle Ages was obviously differential: the surviving number of text witnesses suggests that some works circulated much more widely than others. It remains unclear how balancing tradition and innovation, also in writing style, affected the success of a work. Were the most successful authors also the most innovative ones?
Interest in writing style recently received a new impetus from computational stylometry: we now possess much better digital instruments to measure individuality in literary expression. Likewise, tools for text reuse detection – immensely useful for the study of intertextuality – can help us gauge the co-dependencies between texts on a much larger scale. Despite their potential complementarity, there have been limited joint applications of both approaches in the study of medieval literature. By merging these methodologies, we aim to shed new light on the delicate balance between tradition and individuality in rhyming romances from medieval Dutch and English literature. Notably, the intricate stanzaic structure of Middle English tail-rhyme romances presents an intriguing case study for investigating the interplay between formal constraints and formulaic verses.
However, computational analyses of this material are seriously hampered by the extremely noisy nature of the texts, characterized by significant orthographic and dialectal variation. Luckily, advances in artificial intelligence, particularly in machine learning for language technology, open up new possibilities for overcoming these obstacles and advancing our understanding of the wandering verse in medieval romances.