Ben Jonson's Social Attitudes: A Statistical Analysis


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

By organizing and displaying a large variety of patterns from a set of data, computers help us to see relationships which might otherwise elude us and to draw conclusions based. on an entirety of information rather than subjective impressions. Up to now, much· valuable computer work in the humanities has been linguistic. In this study, we assay another approach toward computer- aided study of literature, an approach currently more typical of the social sciences. This study seeks to use statistical analysis to describe some characteristics of a certain literary world- the comedies and poems of Ben Jonson-and to infer from them Jonson's attitudes toward people of varying social class and of both sexes. The relationships between these attitudes and the genres of works in which the characters appear are explored, as are the changes of these attitudes over time.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.