The Singularity of Areopagitica: A Quantitative Analysis of John Milton's Prose Works

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Abstract

Literary critics and historians often interpret authors and authors' works as more or less significant, but are reluctant to quantify those works. The interdisciplinary field of creativity studies, however, poses methods of quantifying the eminence of an author's works. This study uses four measures from that field (anthology entries, scholarly citations, entries in books of quotations, and auction sale records) and one measure from the fields of computational linguistics and data mining (ngrams using millions of books digitized by Google) to assess the eminence of John Milton's thirty-one prose works and their relation to his greater achievement in epic poetry. These measures indicate the singular eminence of Areopagitica, Milton's 1644 tract on the liberty of unlicensed printing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-184
Number of pages11
JournalHistorical Methods
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2015

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