Author Biography

Anne Bandry-Scubbi is Professor of English literature in the Université de Strasbourg. Her research focuses on eighteenth-century fiction, with a special interest for Sterne and in women's fiction. She participated in the Reception of Sterne in Europe project and published a book on Tristram Shandy with Madeleine Descargues-Grant. She co-edited Hilarion's Asse: A Tercentenary Celebration of Laurence Sterne's Humour with Peter de Voogd (2013). She first started practicing computer-aided textual analysis to compare imitations of Sterne to the original and is now experimenting on a wider scope, more specifically on 18th-century women's writing. She was a visiting fellow in April 2013 at Chawton House Library. She serves as senior editor of Revue de la Société d'études anglo-américaines des XVII et XVIIIe siècles and heads the Strasbourg (France) group of research in Anglophone culture, SEARCH: Savoirs dans l'Espace Anglophone: Représentations, Culture, Histoire.


Using Chawton House Library’s “Novels Online,” several corpora have been set up for a computer-aided textual analysis of the use of vocabulary by women writing “domestic novels” from 1752 to 1834. This corpus stylistics approach makes it possible to map texts according to their word usage and to identify quantitative keywords which provide vocabulary profiles through comparison and contrast with contemporary male and female canonical texts. Items identified include pronouns, markers of dialogue and of intensity; others can be grouped into specific lexical fields such as feelings. One text from the collection then forms the object of a case-study to explore a paradox: although Jane Taylor’s use of vocabulary in her 1817 Rachel appears the most representative of the corpus made up of 42 novels by women, this Chawton text has been called “a highly original tale.” Methodology and findings are both presented to address the challenge of identifying features which constitute typicality.


Chawton novels online, Women’s writing 1751-1834, Computer-aided textual analysis, Corpus stylistics, quantitative stylistics, Jane Taylor