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About the project

Status: archive

Project team: Nika Mavrody, Nichole Nomura, Alex Sherman;

Start date: Sep 1, 2018

End date: Apr 21, 2021

Last updated: Jan 1, 2023

Presentation on “Voice”
Apr 25, 2019


This project considered the uses of "voice" as a concept across vernacular literary criticism, toggling between methods (counting, reading, modeling) and objects of study. Beginning with a working definition of voice based on Hale's, as an "integral," "inevitable," and "authentic self-expression of identity" in a novel, we ultimately find that voice provides readers a unitary framework for grappling with problems both textual and paratextual. We began by tracking voice's many meanings across a large corpus, considering high-level statistics about its usage in different communities and the writers it is used to describe. Second, we developed a conceptual model of voice's many uses, based on our reading of a (limited) version of our composite corpus. Finally, we built a word-embedding model to track voice's use in a larger discourse. Ultimately, we showed that voice, style, and genre operate in a unified vernacular critical system, that voice (along with genre) is a subcategory of style, and that voice consists of the parts of style not otherwise captured by genre.