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The Disputed Authorship of a Medieval Text: A New Solution to the Attribution Problem in the Case of Guillaume D’Angleterre

Author(s): Maria Slautina

Journal: Authorship
ISSN 2034-4643

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: authorship | chrétien de troyes | medieval French romance | guillaume d'angleterre | computational approaches to authorship attribution | pattern recognition

This paper presents a case of disputed authorship concerning a literary medieval text, the Old French romance Guillaume d’Angleterre, and describes a new attempt to use the mathematical method of authorship attribution called the "method of pattern recognition”. After presenting an overview of previous approaches to the problem of the authorship of this text, I argue for the advantages of a statistical syntactic based method for authorship attribution of medieval texts. The method of pattern recognition consists in the identification of a domain of syntactic parameters and a measurement of the proximity or distance of texts as located in a multi-dimensional syntactic space. I find that the medieval text most likely belongs to Chrétien de Troyes, one of the most famous French authors of the twelfth century. I present for the first time an attempt to apply the method of pattern recognition to determine the authorship of a medieval text written in Old French.
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