The Dostoyevskian Trope: State Incongruence in 19 th Century Textual Cultural Heritage



In the history of prolific writers, one is often confronted with the figure of the suffering or tortured writer. Setting aside metaphysical theories, the central claim is that state incoherence is an intricate part of the creative process. Two propositions can be derived this claim, 1: the creative state is inversely proportional to the emotional state, and 2: the creative state is causally predicted by the emotional state. We call this creative-emotional dynamic ‘The Dostojevskian Trope’ with a reference to the paradigmatic life of Fodor Dostojevsky. In this paper we present a method for studying the dostojevskian trope in prolific writers. The method combines Shannon entropy as an indicator of lexical density and readability with fractal analysis in order to measure creative dynamics over multiple documents. We generate a sentiment time series from the same documents and test for causal dependencies between the creative and sentiment time series. We illustrate the method by searching for the dostojevskian trope in Danish textual cultural heritage, specifically three highly prolific writers from the 19th century, namely, N.F.S. Grundtvig, H.C. Andersen, and S.A. Kierkegaard.


Creativity, Fractal Analysis, Information Theory, Sentiment Analysis.

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