Dr Alexis Antonia
School of Humanities and Social Science
- Phone:(02) 4921 5769
Before the Beyond!
Alexis Antonia has been assisting Computational Statistics Pioneering since 1985 and research at the Centre for Literary & Linguistic Computing since 1989.
I borrowed the phrase ‘Before the Beyond’ from Emeritus Professor John Burrows’ recent presentation at the ‘Beyond Authorship 2014 Symposium’, which was entitled “Before the Beyond: Authorship as a Point of Departure”. In a field which seems to be moving ahead at break-neck speed, it is gratifying to know that one has been there almost since the beginning.
It was during the years I worked as a research assistant under the tutelage of Burrows, that I gained expertise in the methods of computational stylistics. Burrows’ pioneering research began during a study leave in Cambridge in 1984 and continued after his retirement from the English Department in 1989 when the CLLC was established to allow him to continue developing his methods. After Burrows’ retirement, I continued to do research assistance for the current Director of the CLLC, Professor Hugh Craig.
As a research assistant I worked on many and varied research projects for the Centre’s members and collaborators. Professor Wayne McKenna’s projects resulted in the publication of three articles on James Joyce (experimental method in computational stylistics) and two articles on Samuel Beckett (translation theory). When Dr Ellen Jordan approached the CLLC for help in resolving an attribution problem in Victorian periodical literature, I was assigned to assist her since she was totally unfamiliar with the techniques of computational stylistics. The Jordan collaboration led to publications in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2014. Other distant collaborations on questions of newspaper articles attributions resulted in publications in History Australia in 2009 and forthcoming.
The introduction to the Victorian periodicals opened up the possibility of undertaking independent research in this area, using the techniques I had learned over so many years. My doctoral thesis was awarded the ‘2010 Faculty Award for Research Higher Degree Excellence’. The Victorian periodical text collection (200 articles, written by 22 authors totalling almost 2 million words) used for the tests in the thesis has been a valuable resource for current work and is gradually being expanded. A number of articles have been written, using this corpus, with two accepted for publication and one currently submitted. It would appear that the research habit is one that is not easily discarded!Research Expertise
By bringing together the techniques of computational stylistics and the periodicals, Antonia has made “an important and original contribution to knowledge of Victorian periodicals, authorship and the literary profession in the Victorian period, and the relationship between style, intellectual discourse, and conditions of cultural production in nineteenth-century Britain” (Dolin, PhD examiner’s comments). Antonia also advanced the work in statistical stylistics by carrying out the first study which developed and analysed a large, integrated and intentionally anonymous corpus of periodical writing from the period. This corpus is now available for corpus based studies and was used to produce a publication which investigated the effectiveness of attribution methodologies using n-grams with 'n' larger than one. Four published articles from this work have made important contributions to long-standing questions of attribution in the field: for example, in 2008 a paper was published on an attribution question which has intrigued people since the 1850s. The infamous weekly journal The Saturday Review (often dubbed ‘The Reviler’) published a series of articles between 1855 and 1858 ridiculing the emerging Women’s Movement. For 150 years people have speculated about the authorship of the articles, while the articles themselves have continued to arouse the interest of scholars, with most accounts of the English Women’s Movement quoting from them. The highly probable attribution of several of the articles to Lord Robert Cecil, Third Marquess of Salisbury and later Prime Minister of England was an important achievement. An article in 2011 demonstrated that the internal evidence of computational stylistics is, in certain cases, a more valid test of authorship, than some of the content related methods used by the Wellesley Index. An article currently being considered for publication attempts to shed light on the question of the influence of a journal's 'home style' on its periodical articles. Stylistics and textual analysis have been used to investigate the styles of a number of Australian goldfield journalists whose unsigned articles appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald in the mid nineteenth century.
Teaching Expertise Statement Antonia began teaching at Sydney University while completing her Masters Degree in Early English and Literature. In Newcastle, she completed a BA Hons degree specialising in Linguistics and has at various times undertaken some teaching in the Department in the fields of Linguistic Concepts, Sociolinguistics, Child Acquisition of Language and Phonetics and Phonology. Expertise in the methods of computational stylistics gained from working alongside Emeritus Professor John Burrows has enabled Antonia to teach these methods to others wanting to work in the field.
Since my doctoral dissertation involved the application of computational stylistic methods to the Victorian periodicals, my primary research collaboration is with people who are working in this area, such as Dr Ellen Jordan. However, as a research associate of the Centre for Literary and Linguistic Computing, I am open to collaboration in any research project which utilises the methods of computational stylistics.
- PhD English, University of Newcastle
- Bachelor of Arts with Honours, University of Newcastle
- Australian goldfields journalism
- Victorian periodicals
- authorial attribution
- computational stylistics
Fields of Research
|200503||British and Irish Literature||20|
|200526||Stylistics and Textual Analysis||60|
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Chapter (1 outputs)
|1999||McKenna CW, Burrows JF, Antonia A, 'Beckett's "Molloy": computational stylistics and the meaning of translation', Variete: Perspectives in French Literature, Society and Culture, Peter Lang, Frankfurt 79-91 (1999) [B1]|
Journal article (11 outputs)
Crabb P, Dalton B, Craig H, Antonia A, 'The enigmatic Bartholomew Lloyd alias Frederick Dalton: Identity and mobility during the gold rush era in New South Wales', History Australia, 16 358-374 (2019) [C1]
© 2019 Australian Historical Association. This is the third article recording our investigations of the authorship and authors of Sydney Morning Herald articles on the midnineteen... [more]
© 2019 Australian Historical Association. This is the third article recording our investigations of the authorship and authors of Sydney Morning Herald articles on the midnineteenth- century goldfields of New South Wales. Whereas the first two focused on the identification of the anonymous author and his inexplicable disappearance, this article explores the implications of our serendipitous discovery of the author¿s alter ego. The man we knew as Dalton was actually Bartholomew Lloyd, who had had a very different previous life and a very different ancestry. And it was a name and life he returned to after nearly 30 years. But our story of an eminently respectable citizen who disappeared twice became much more. It took us beyond primarily issues of authorship attribution to important aspects of life in the colonial world of the second half of the nineteenth century. The period was one of extraordinary mobility, internationally and nationally. Mobility facilitated changes and concealment of identity, with their associated issues of responsibility and questionable morality. The story of Lloyd/Dalton is also yet another illustration of the ever-changing nature of historical knowledge.
Craig DH, Dalton B, Antonia A, Crabb P, 'Identifying another goldfields reporter: Frederick Dalton (1815 80)', History Australia, 13 557-574 (2016) [C1]
Craig H, Antonia A, 'Six authors and the saturday review: A quantitative approach to style', Victorian Periodicals Review, 48 67-86 (2015) [C1]
Antonia A, Jordan E, 'IDENTIFYING ANNE MOZLEY'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE CHRISTIAN REMEMBRANCER: A COMPUTATIONAL STYLISTIC APPROACH', VICTORIAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE, 42 303-323 (2014)
Antonia A, Craig H, Elliott J, 'Language chunking, data sparseness, and the value of a long marker list: Explorations with word n-grams and authorial attribution', Literary and Linguistic Computing, 29 147-163 (2014) [C1]
The frequencies of individual words have been the mainstay of computer-assisted authorial attribution over the past three decades. The usefulness of this sort of data is attested ... [more]
The frequencies of individual words have been the mainstay of computer-assisted authorial attribution over the past three decades. The usefulness of this sort of data is attested in many benchmark trials and in numerous studies of particular authorship problems. It is sometimes argued, however, that since language as spoken or written falls into word sequences, on the 'idiom principle', and since language is characteristically produced in the brain in chunks, not in individual words, n-grams with n higher than 1 are superior to individual words as a source of authorship markers. In this article, we test the usefulness of word n-grams for authorship attribution by asking how many good-quality authorship markers are yielded by n-grams of various types, namely 1-grams, 2-grams, 3-grams, 4-grams, and 5-grams. We use two ways of formulating the n-grams, two corpora of texts, and two methods for finding and assessing markers. We find that when using methods based on regularly occurring markers, and drawing on all the available vocabulary, 1-grams perform best. With methods based on rare markers, and all the available vocabulary, strict 3-gram sequences perform best. If we restrict ourselves to a defined word-list of function-words to form n-grams, 2-grams offer a striking improvement on 1-grams. © The Author 2013.Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ALLC. All rights reserved.
Crabb P, Antonia A, Craig H, 'Who wrote A Visit to the Western Goldfields ? Using computers to analyse language in historical research', History Australia, 11 177-193 (2014) [C1]
|2011||Antonia A, Jordan EE, 'Checking some Wellesley Index attributions by empirical 'internal evidence' : The case of Blackie and Burton', Authorship, 1 1-23 (2011) [C1]|
Wallace L, Antonia A, Craig H, 'What s in a Name: Was John Curtin Vigilant?: Analysing Style to Determine Authorship', History Australia, 6 44.1-44.12 (2009)
© 2009 Taylor and Francis Group LLC. Curtin researcher Tom Fitzgerald amassed a wealth of evidence that John Curtin wrote under the pen name ¿Vigilant¿ in the early years of his e... [more]
© 2009 Taylor and Francis Group LLC. Curtin researcher Tom Fitzgerald amassed a wealth of evidence that John Curtin wrote under the pen name ¿Vigilant¿ in the early years of his editorship of the Westralian Worker. If true, the personal and literary columns penned by ¿Vigilant¿ provide new insights into the inner temperament of Australia¿s war time Prime Minister. Fitzgerald¿s evidence for Curtin as ¿Vigilant¿ is presented in this paper and the attribution is further explored by applying stylistic tests developed at the Centre for Literary and Linguistic Computing at the University of Newcastle (NSW).
Jordan EE, Craig DH, Antonia A, 'The Bronte Sisters and the Christian Remembrancer: A Pilot Study in the Use of the 'Burrows Method' to Identify the Authorship of Unsigned Articles in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press', Victorian Periodicals Review, 39 21-45 (2006) [C1]
McKenna CWF, Antonia A, 'The Statistical Analysis of Style: Reflections on Form, Meaning, and Ideology in the Nausicaa Episode of Ulysses', Literary and Linguistic Computing, 16 353-373 (2001)
The study first establishes a set of formal properties of Ulysses through a computational approach based on frequency counts of the ninety-nine most common words of the text. The ... [more]
The study first establishes a set of formal properties of Ulysses through a computational approach based on frequency counts of the ninety-nine most common words of the text. The common words are first used to discriminate interior monologue, dialogue, and narrative, and then to discriminate between the different narrative styles of the text. The discriminations are achieved by means of multivariate statistics, such as principal component analysis, and by distribution tests (Student¿s t-test and Mann-Whitney test). Using the linguistic premise that all matter is meaning, as well as Bakhtin¿s argument that all language is ideologically saturated, the study then explores the relationship between common words, meaning, and ideology. It concentrates on the Gerty MacDowell section of episode 13 of Ulysses in order to show how common words that appear more frequently in that episode than in others¿such as two modals, two causal conjunctions, and one preposition¿are integral to the various syntactic structures that differentiate styles and contribute to the meaning and ideology of the text. The article links these discriminations to Bakhtin¿s concept of polyphony and to his discussion of the ¿creation of specific novelistic images of languages¿. Its conclusion, therefore, is that computational analysis of style can open interpretation to details of form, meaning, and ideology that enable humanities computing to make a distinctive contribution to literary criticism. © 2001 Oxford University Press.
|Show 8 more journal articles|
Conference (2 outputs)
Lum J, Schlossberg J, 'Computer-based elicitation in the field: The Virtual Atoll Task', The 45th Australian Linguistics Society conference proceedings - 2014, Newcastle (2015)
|2011||Antonia A, 'Authorship, genre and gender: Competing influences in Victorian periodicals', Combined Abstracts. Language Individuation: A Symposium in honour of John Burrows, Newcastle, NSW (2011) [E3]|
Dr Alexis Antonia
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts
|Phone||(02) 4921 5769|
|Fax||(02) 4921 6933|
Callaghan, NSW 2308