Computer assisted Analysis of Goethe’s Die Wahlverwandtschaften the Enigma of Elective Affinities

Author: Burgess, Gordon J. A.
This is the first full-length computer-aided examination of Goethe's novel. This study focuses on a close critical analysis of the text, underpinning its findings with often incontrovertible evidence based on the outputs of computer-generated indexes and concordances. The examination of the text itself is complemented by an overview of critical attitudes toward the novel, from Goethe's contemporaries down to the present day, and by an outline of the possibilities and limitations of a computer-based text analysis.

Table of Contents

Table of contents:


1.Introduction: the unique nature of Die Wahlverwandtschaften; Early reception of the novel - approval and disapproval; Later reception – critical disagreement; How might a computer help?

2.The use of concordances for the analysis of literary texts

3.Leitmotifs in Die Wahlverwandtschaften

4.Relationships in Die Wahlverwandtschaften

5.Modes of interaction between the central characters: direct and indirect speech

6.The manipulative narrator

7.Fictional authenticity within the authenticity of fiction: an analysis of the quantifiable stylistic features of passages by different ‘authors' within Die Wahlverwandtschaften


Select bibliography; Index