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REASSESSING THE APULEIAN CORPUS: A COMPUTATIONAL APPROACH TO AUTHENTICITY

  • Justin Stover (a1) and Mike Kestemont (a2)

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The renaissance of Apuleian studies of the past few decades shows no signs of abating. 1 The summer of 2014 may well be the highest watermark yet recorded in the tide of interest in Apuleius: June and July alone saw the release of two monographs, one each from Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, and one edited conference volume, from Routledge. 2 The clearest sign that the sophist of Madauros has come into his own is his admission into the exclusive club of the Oxford Classical Texts: the first volume of his complete works containing the Metamorphoses edited by Maaike Zimmerman came out in 2012. One of the most salutary effects of this renewed interest has been the reappraisal of the ‘whole Apuleius’: Apuleius has more to offer than just the Metamorphoses, and recent scholarship on the rhetorica and the philosophica have shown not only how these opera minora can help us understand the opus maius, but also how they are important and interesting documents in their own right. 3

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1 This is not the place to provide a complete bibliography of Apuleius; none the less, a few of the more important monographs should be noted. Contemporary Apuleian studies take off from Winkler's, J.J. monograph, Auctor and Actor: A Narratological Reading of Apuleius’ Golden Ass (Berkeley, 1985). Recent studies of the Met. include May, R., Apuleius and Drama: The Ass on Stage (Oxford, 2006); Graverini, L., Le Metamorfosi di Apuleio: Letteratura e identità (Pisa, 2007) and Frangoulidis, S.A., Witches, Isis and Narrative: Approaches to Magic in Apuleius’ Metamorphoses (Berlin, 2008). On the reception of Apuleius, see Carver, R.H.F., The Protean Ass: The Metamorphoses of Apuleius from Antiquity to the Renaissance (Oxford, 2007) and Gaisser, J.H., The Fortunes of Apuleius and the Golden Ass: A Study in Transmission and Reception (Princeton, 2008).

2 These are Tilg, S., Apuleius’ Metamorphoses: A Study in Roman Fiction (Oxford, 2014); Fletcher, R., Apuleius’ Platonism: The Impersonation of Philosophy (Cambridge, 2014); and Lee, B.T. et al. (edd.), Apuleius and Africa (New York, 2014). Fletcher's monograph appeared too late for us to use it in this study.

3 On the ‘whole Apuleius’, see B.L. Hijmans, Jr., ‘Apuleius philosophus Platonicus’, ANRW 2.36.1 (1987), 395–475; Sandy, G., The Greek World of Apuleius: Apuleius and the Second Sophistic (Leiden, 1997); Harrison, S.J., Apuleius: A Latin Sophist (Oxford, 2000); and now Fletcher (n. 2). On the opera minora, see Marangoni, C., Il mosaico della memoria: Studi sui Florida e sulle Metamorfosi di Apuleio (Padua, 2000) and Baltes, M. et al. , Apuleius: De deo Socratis. Über den Gott des Sokrates (Darmstadt, 2004).

4 For a positive view, see Harrison, S.J., ‘Apuleius eroticus: Anth. Lat. 712 Riese’, Hermes 120 (1992), 83–9.

5 On the positive side, see Lytle, E., ‘Apuleius’ Metamorphoses and the spurcum additamentum (10.21)’, CPh 98 (2003), 349–65; for a response, see Hunink, V., ‘The spurcum additamentum (Apul. Met. 10,21) once again’, in Keulen, W.H. et al. (edd.), Lectiones Scrupulosae. Essays On the Text and Interpretation of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses in Honour of Maaike Zimmerman (Groningen, 2006), 266–79. Zimmerman, in the introduction to her OCT (Oxford, 2012), provides a full discussion at xxiii–xxv.

6 On the Herbarius, see Maggiulli, G. and Buffa Giolito, M.F., L'altro Apuleio. Problemi aperti per una nuova edizione dell’ Herbarius (Naples, 1996), and Hunink, V., ‘Apuleius and the Asclepius ’, VChr 50 (1996), 288308, at 300–1; for the Physiognomia, see Hunink (this note), 301, considering points raised by Opeku, F., ‘Physiognomy in Apuleius’, in Deroux, C. (ed.), Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History I (Brussels, 1979), 467–74.

7 See Kohl, B. and Siraisi, N., ‘The De monarchia attributed to Apuleius’, Medievalia 7 (1981), 139 ; and Gaisser (n. 1), 122–4.

8 V. Hunink maintains that the ‘False Preface’, though truncated, is an integral part of the DdS (‘The prologue of Apuleius’ De deo Socratis’, Mnemosyne 48 [1995], 292–312); most other scholars, e.g. Harrison (n. 3), 91–2, have grouped it with the Florida.

9 The bibliography on this question is vast: for orientation, see Harrison (n. 3), 174–80. The most substantial analyses remain those of J. Redfors, Echtheitskritische Untersuchungen der apuleischen Schriften De Platone und De mundo (Lund, 1960), who concludes that the problem is insoluble, and A. Marchetta, L'autenticità apuleiana del De Mundo (Rome, 1991), who favours authenticity for the De mundo and (by extension) for the De Platone. Doubts as to the authenticity of these works, while more muted than in decades past, have been raised as recently as 2007 by Holmes, N., ‘False quantities in Vegetius and others’, CQ 57 (2007), 668–86, at 684–6.

10 The question was reopened after decades of consensus by Hunink (n. 6); his arguments were responded to by Horsfall Scotti, M., ‘The Asclepius: thoughts on a reopened debate’, VChr 54 (2000), 396416 .

11 The case was put forward most vigorously by Londey, D. and Johanson, C., The Logic of Apuleius (Leiden, 1987), 815 . B.T. Lee cautiously accepts the authenticity of the text, and provides the relevant bibliography in his commentary on the Florida (Berlin, 2005), 10–11; Harrison (n. 3), 11 rejects it.

12 See the Proceedings of the British Academy. Annual Report, 1948–1949 (London 1949), 8. The manuscript is Vatican City, Reg. lat. 1572. For a full discussion of this text, an editio princeps and arguments in favour of its authenticity, see Stover, J.A., A New Work by Apuleius: The Lost Third Book of the De Platone (Oxford, 2015).

13 McGann, M.J., CR 25 (1975), 226–7, at 227.

14 Londey and Johanson (n. 11), 17.

15 See Hockey, S., ‘An agenda for electronic text technology in the Humanities’, CW 91 (1998), 521–42, esp. 524–5. The studies on the Historia Augusta include Marriott, I., ‘The authorship of the Historia Augusta: two computer studies,JRS 69 (1979), 6577 ; Meissner, B., ‘Computergestützte Untersuchungen zur stilistischen Einheitlichkeit der Historia Augusta ’, in Bonamente, G. and Rosen, K. (edd.), Historiae Augustae colloquium Bonnense (Bari 1997), 175215 ; and Tse, E., Tweedie, F.J. and Frischer, B., ‘Unravelling the purple thread: function word variability and the Scriptores Historiae Augustae ’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 13 (1998), 141–9.

16 Holmes, D., ‘The evolution of stylometry in Humanities scholarship’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 13 (1998), 111–17. For Digital Humanities in general, see, inter alia, Schreibman, S., Siemens, R. and Unsworth, J. (edd.), A Companion to Digital Humanities (Oxford, 2004).

17 Brandwood, L., Stylometric Method and the Chronology of Plato's Works (Cambridge, 1990). For stylochronometry in general, consult the survey in Stamou, C., ‘Stylochronometry: stylistic development, sequence of composition, and relative dating’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 23 (2008), 181–99.

18 Recent surveys of the field include: Juola, P., ‘Authorship attribution’, Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval 1 (2006), 233334 ; Koppel, M., Schler, J. and Argamon, S., ‘Computational methods in authorship attribution’, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 60 (2009), 926 ; Stamatatos, E., ‘A survey of modern authorship attribution methods’, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 60 (2009), 538–56. An inspiring recent contribution is Burrows, J., ‘A second opinion on Shakespeare and authorship studies in the twenty-first century’, Shakespeare Quarterly 63 (2012), 355–92.

19 Stamatatos (n. 18), 538.

20 van Halteren, H., Baayen, H., Tweedie, F., Haverkort, M. and Neijt, A., ‘New machine learning methods demonstrate the existence of a human stylome’, Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 12 (2005), 6577 .

21 A good methodological survey is offered by Stamatatos (n. 18).

22 See e.g. Luyckx, K. and Daelemans, W., ‘The effect of author set size and data size in authorship attribution’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 26 (2011), 3555 or Eder, M., ‘Does size matter? Authorship attribution, small samples, big problem’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 30 (2015), 167–82 (doi:10.1093/llc/fqt066).

23 Eder, M. and Rybicki, J., ‘Deeper Delta across genres and languages: do we really need the most frequent words?’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 26 (2011), 315–21.

24 See respectively Jannidis, F. and Lauer, G., ‘Burrows's Delta and its use in German literary history’, in Erlin, M. and Tatlock, L. (edd.), Distant Readings. Topologies of German Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century (Woodbridge, 2014), 2954 ; Schöch, C., ‘Fine tuning our stylometric tools: investigating authorship, genre, and form in French classical theatre’, in Digital Humanities 2013: Conference Abstracts (Lincoln, NE, 2013), 383–6; Kestemont, M., Moens, S. and Deploige, J., ‘Collaborative authorship in the twelfth century. A stylometric study of Hildegard of Bingen and Guibert of Gembloux’, Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 30 (2015), 199224 .

25 The broad field of authorship attribution has been surveyed by Love, H., Attributing Authorship. An Introduction (Cambridge, 2002).

26 Mosteller, F. and Wallace, D., Inference and Disputed Authorship: The Federalist (Cambridge, MA, 1964).

27 Accessible surveys of this idea can be found in Binongo, J., ‘Who wrote the 15th book of Oz? An application of multivariate analysis to authorship attribution’, Chance 16 (2003), 917 ; Kestemont, M., ‘Function words in authorship attribution: from black magic to theory?’, in Feldman, A., Kazantseva, A. and Szpakowicz, S. (edd.), Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Computational Linguistics for Literature Workshop, co-located with the 14th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Gothenburg, 2014), 5966 .

28 Cf. Juola (n. 18), 264–5.

29 Highly relevant in this respect are Hoover, D., ‘Frequent collocations and authorial style’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 18 (2003), 261–86 and Hoover, D., ‘Multivariate analysis and the study of style variation’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 18 (2003), 341–60.

30 This aspect as well as other potential shortcomings of function words are discussed by Kestemont (n. 27).

31 All our experiments reported in this paper can be easily replicated using the ‘Stylometry with R’ package, a suite of software scripts for the popular statistical R program (http://www.r-project.org/). This package is freely available online in the public domain and is presented by the suite's main developers (the Computational Stylistics Group) in Eder, M., Kestemont, M. and Rybicki, J., ‘Stylometry with R: a suite of tools’, in Digital Humanities 2013: Conference Abstracts (Lincoln, NE, 2013), 487–9. A manual for the package can be found on the group's website: https://sites.google.com/site/computationalstylistics/. We have shared a version of our corpus in an online repository (https://github.com/mikekestemont/Apuleius), excluding the texts by Tertullian and Cyprian, which are proprietary data owned by Brepols Publishers (Library of Latin Texts). We wish to acknowledge Brepols Publishers for the use of this proprietary material.

32 Manning, C., Raghavan, P. and Schütze, H., An Introduction to Information Retrieval (Cambridge, 2008).

33 See e.g. Stamatatos (n. 18) and Koppel, Schler and Argamon (n. 18), but also Daelemans, W., ‘Explanation in computational stylometry’, in Gelbukh, A. (ed.), Computational Linguistics and Intelligent Text Processing (Berlin and Heidelberg, 2013), 451–62.

34 A good introduction to the advantages and disadvantages of cluster analyses in stylometry can be found in Eder, M., ‘Computational stylistics and Biblical translation: how reliable can a dendrogram be?’, in Piotrowski, T. and Grabowski, Ł. (edd.), The Translator and the Computer (Wrocław, 2013), 155–70.

35 This metric was introduced in Burrows, J., ‘“Delta”: a measure of stylistic difference and a guide to likely authorship’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 17 (2002), 267–87. An interesting theoretical discussion is: Argamon, S., ‘Interpreting Burrows's Delta: geometric and probabilistic foundations’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 23 (2008), 131–47. Argamon showed in this paper that Burrows's original distance formula can be greatly simplified, both mathematically and conceptually: we have based our discussion of Burrows's Delta in the main text on Argamon's simplified interpretation.

36 See e.g. Burrows, J., ‘Textual analysis’, in Schreibman, S., Siemens, R. and Unsworth, J. (edd.), A Companion to Digital Humanities (Oxford, 2004), 323–47, at 326.

37 See Eder (n. 34).

38 A seminal application of this technique can be found in J. Burrows, Computation into Criticism: A Study of Jane Austen's Novels (Oxford, 1987). Accessible introductions to the application of PCA to authorship attribution include Binongo (n. 27), but also Binongo, J. and Smith, W., ‘The application of principal components analysis to stylometry’, Literary and Linguistic Computing 14 (1999), 445–66.

39 Here, we will restrict the PCA scatterplots to the first two dimensions (or principal components), which is common in present-day stylometry. Because only so much information can be captured in a two-dimensional analysis, including more than three œuvres in a PCA should be generally avoided. The underlying theoretical assumption is that, because of this restriction, each dimension has the potential to contrast one author with the other authors included.

40 Kestemont (n. 27) provides relevant references to studies of function words in relation to genre in the field of computational linguistics. A short, yet highly relevant, contribution on this topic is: C. Schöch, ‘Validating and interpreting Principal Component Analysis: a case-study from the analysis of French Enlightenment plays’, in Digital Humanities 2014: Conference Abstracts (Lausanne, 2014), 136–7.

41 See Horsfall Scotti (n. 10).

42 Here we used the same sampling settings (3,000-word samples) as in Figure 3. In a separate, much more technical study we have worked together with Yaron Winter and Moshe Koppel (Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan) on the specific topic of the authorship of the Expositio: see Stover, J., Winter, Y., Koppel, M. and Kestemont, M., ‘Computational authorship verification method attributes a new work to a major 2nd-century African author’, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 67 (2016), 239–42, DOI: 10.1002/asi.23460 . The method described in this paper applies an iterative procedure to verify the authorship of texts: in each iteration, a random set of features is selected to make the algorithm less sensitive to topic-related vocabulary. Texts are only attributed to the same author, if they prove more similar to each other than to a set of similar texts by impostor authors. The results of this approach also demonstrated that the Expositio was in all likelihood written by Apuleius.

43 This measure has been proposed in Craig, H. and Kinney, A., Shakespeare, Computers, and the Mystery of Authorship (Cambridge, 2009).

44 Studies of Latin particles have developed significantly in recent years, especially since Kroon's, C. Discourse Particles in Latin: A Study of Nam, Enim, Autem, Vero, and At (Amsterdam, 1995); see also her updated discussion in Latin particles and the grammar of discourse’, in Clackson, J. (ed.), A Companion to the Latin Language (Malden, MA, 2011), 176–96. With considerable detail, Kroon lays out how nam and enim differ, concluding in the latter study that ‘enim is not, or not primarily, a connective-particle that is more or less synonymous with nam, but rather a conversation-management particle which seeks to establish a bond between speaker and hearer’ (192). Without denying the validity of Kroon's arguments, which are many and persuasive, there is still a sense in which the interchangeability of nam and enim can be maintained. Take two roughly contemporaneous historians, Livy and Velleius Paterculus; the former uses nam to enim at a rate of about 7:10 (0.695), the latter at 14:10 (1.375), and if we push back to the previous generation, we find Sallust at a rate of 12:1 (11.7). Whatever one might say about individual cases, it cannot simply be true that semantics demanded Velleius use nam twice as often as Livy, or Sallust seventeen times more often. Rather, it is the unique emotional and rhetorical tenor of each word—the features which Kroon has identified—that makes an author favour one over another.

45 Redfors (n. 9), 39–46.

46 Redfors (n. 9), 115–17.

47 On at, see Kroon (n. 42 [2011]).

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REASSESSING THE APULEIAN CORPUS: A COMPUTATIONAL APPROACH TO AUTHENTICITY

  • Justin Stover (a1) and Mike Kestemont (a2)

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