Stylometry for Aurality in Medieval Anglo-Latin Hagiography (900–1150): Performance, Community and Musicality

01 October 2023 → 30 September 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Medieval history
    • Latin language
    • Computational linguistics
    • Literatures in Latin
    • Stylistics and textual analysis
Western Europe Middle Ages Latin Language and text analysis Aural stylistic features Stylometry Medieval Latin hagiography Language technology History Literary studies Religion
Project description

This project applies the computational analysis of style to aural features of medieval Anglo-Latin hagiography (900-1150). Although hagiographies possessed a sermonic quality, had a didactic function and were ceremonially recited, the reading practice, delivery contexts and performative dimension of hagiography is still poorly understood. By introducing a data-driven analysis of hagiographies’ aural features (such as rhyme, rhythm, metre, and others), this research project breaks new ground in understanding the function and reception of hagiographical narratives in their intended oral-aural setting. The particularly challenging case of Latin hagiography in England in the period 900-1150 forms central focus since it was characterised by significant stylistic trends, shifting religious-spiritual attitudes, and strong connections with vernacular culture. The aims are 1) to understand better the reception of hagiography by its listeners and, therefore, its contribution to a commonly shared and identifiable social memory, 2) to discover how aural features can alter its meaning, taking historical context into account 3) to reveal its dependence on and interaction with vernacular poetics to appeal to listeners, 4) to demonstrate its reliance and influence on contemporaneous musical genres, and (5) to establish methodological innovations for aurality in the field of stylometry.