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Project The Riddle of Literary Quality van start

Why are some books considered good or bad, and others literary or not literary?

Literary scholars agree communication between the reader and the critic determine the literary quality of books. However, not much is known on the criteria used in this process. What makes a novel good or bad, how is a novel literary or non-literary?

The project “The Riddle of Literary Quality“, led by  Karina van Dalen-Oskam of Huygens ING, will answer these questions.

The project assumes that formal characteristics of a text may also be of importance in calling a fictional text literary or non-literary, and good or bad – non-literary texts can also be good and literary text can also be bad. Many formal characteristics can be thought of as having a part in this, e.g. the use of difficult words, the number of adjectives and adverbs, or complex syntactic style. This project explores this assumption, integrating the analysis of low-level lexical-statistical features and high-level syntactic and narrative features.

Partners in this project are the Fryske Akademy and the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation of the University of Amsterdam. The project is financed by the Computational Humanities programme of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).