Conventions of literariness and translations

The project The Riddle of Literary Quality is nearing its completion. The project aims to discover which stylistic features of fiction help to make a novel being found literary by its readers. We combine the opinions of almost 14,000 readers with a stylometric analysis of 401 novels originally written in Dutch or translated into Dutch. This leads to very interesting new insights in how fiction appeals to readers. In this presentation, some of the main results of the project will be presented and special attention will be given to translated novels compared to Dutch originals. Do readers find translations more literary than originals? And can we distinguish originals and translated novels when we analyse them using stylometry?

Karina van Dalen-Oskam is head of the department of literary studies at Huygens Institute for the history of the Netherlands (KNAW) and professor in Computational literary studies at the University of Amsterdam. She is also Chair of the Steering Committee of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO).