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Shakespeare and his contemporaries: Designing a genre classification scheme for Early English Books Online 1560-1640

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>7/04/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>ICAME Journal
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)59-82
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The language of Early Modern texts can potentially reveal a lot about Shakespeare’s language. In this paper I describe the creation of a genre classification scheme for a segment of Early English Books Online - Text Creation Partnership (EEBO-TCP), covering the period 1560-1640. This categorisation permits meaningful comparison of the language of Shakespeare with that of his contemporaries and makes an integral contribution to The Encyclopaedia of Shakespeare’s Language project at Lancaster University. I outline the rationale behind the scheme, describe preliminary automatic genre classification work and present the prototype approach adopted for this categorisation. I also provide specific examples of classification in practice and discuss internal and external factors which influenced genre selection. I finish by suggesting how a range of scholars might benefit from this research.

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