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Mark Twain and the Quintus Curtius Snodgrass Letters: A Statistical Test of Authorship
Claude S. Brinegar
Journal of the American Statistical Association
Vol. 58, No. 301 (Mar., 1963), pp. 85-96
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2282956
Page Count: 12
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Authorship attribution, Word frequency analysis, Writing, Frequency distribution, Statistical tests, Control groups, Civil wars, Letter writing, Letters of credit, T tests
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Mark Twain is widely credited with the authorship of 10 letters published in 1861 in the New Orleans Daily Crescent. The adventures described in these letters, which were signed "Quintus Curtius Snodgrass," provide the historical basis of a main part of Twain's presumed role in the Civil War. This study applies an old, though little used statistical test of authorship-a word-length frequency test-to show that Twain almost certainly did not write these 10 letters. The statistical analysis includes a visual comparison of several word-length frequency distributions and applications of the χ2 and two-sample t tests.
Journal of the American Statistical Association © 1963 American Statistical Association