Novels and the maths of good writing

Novels and the maths of good writing

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We’ll be posting resources for English Language and English Literature in the near future. In the meantime, here’s a small token of our appreciation for your visit.

Recent research from the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, in which over 100 literary texts were put through a series of statistical tests, suggests that many famous novels have fractal sentence structures. One of the most interesting findings in the research paper, ‘Quantifying origin and character of long-range correlations in narrative texts’ (Stanisław Drożdż et al. Information Sciences, 2016), was that novels considered to be ‘stream-of-consciousness’ showed the greatest degree of complexity in their structure. Works such as The Waves by Virginia Woolf, James Joyce’s Ulysses and Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius ranked among the ‘most fractal’. Read about how this research was conducted and the findings (in accessible language, and with some fascinating graphs) at ‘The world’s greatest literature reveals multifractals and cascades of consciousness’, published by on 26 January 2016.

Last updated: 4 February 2016

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