Introduction

The question of the authorship of comedies written under the pseudonym Molière was raised at the beginning of the 20th century and is widely discussed today both in France and in other countries. According to the existing hypothesis, the possible real authors of plays which have been attributed to Molière include such well-known French playwrights as P. Corneille and F. Quinault. The most heated debates took place over the question of the possibility that P. Corneille wrote the best plays in verse attributed to Molière. The hypothesis that P. Corneille wrote works that have been attributed to Molière has traditionally been called the “Corneille-Molière” problem in the works of various researchers. One of the most recent research works done on this topic was that of D. Labbé, whose work is based on an analysis of the lexicon used by the two writers (Labbé, 2003). That said an analysis of the writers’ lexicons alone is not an adequately reliable basis for attributing the authorship of texts since it is the lexicon of a language in particular, connected to narration, which can most easily be imitated. Other researchers of Molière’s works in various years have used other literary and biographical arguments which supported one or another point of view. Thus a situation arose in which a linguistic question could not be solved using methods based only on philological analysis, or with the use of methods of a quantitative description of the work’s lexicon.

The goal of the research is to use a mathematical method of attribution of anonymous or pseudonymous works when solving the “Corneille-Molière” problem.

 The theoretical base for this paper comes from the following assumption:

  • An individual author’s style is a complex hierarchal system and should be described by a set of style-differentiating parameters using a method of multidimensional classifications.
  • The problem of attributing anonymous and pseudonymous texts is one of the tasks of pattern recognition (Marusenko, 1990).
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