Shakespeare meets Bukowski – what we can learn from the writing styles of the world’s great authors.
In the school of simple thought, the woman stands for feelings and complex emotions, while the man represents reason and intellect. Although rather tight in terms of perspective, this role model still has ample repercussions and not even writers are immune to such schemes.
If Genderanalyzer is to be believed, our language and style of writing can be categorised according to gender without virtually any margin of error. In other words, the online software detects whether a website has been written by a man or a woman. Designed according to parameters based on the blogs of 1,000 men and 1,000 women, the computer programme identifies classic male and female language fragments. The Swedish developers claim an impressive success rate under laboratory conditions of 75 per cent.
Repeating structures of language are primarily found in our choice of words. While men seemed to use the term “beer” more often, for example, women wrote about “shopping” more frequently. Moreover, the language of women is supposed to be much more imbued with feelings, fantasy and digression – a general notion confirmed by Genderanalyzer.
A rather sexist software, one might think. The question is, though: Can language be clearly male or female? Is our choice of words actually so individual that it can even be recognised in the vast landscape of published books? As we from novum publishing have already shed light on women’s style icons, let us discuss the question of writing styles based on world-famous, male authors. In order to do so, we selected four outstanding personalities for this stylistic assessment.
Metaphors, parables and sonnets – William Shakespeare set a new benchmark in poetry. His style of writing reflects an abundance of vocabulary with an astounding 17,750 different words counted in his published works alone. Shakespeare not only resorted to the existing word pool of his time but also added his own creations to the stylistic mix. Several words in today’s English language can be traced back to Shakespeare himself and have even been accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
First a historical linguist, then an accomplished author: J. R. R. Tolkien’s feeling for language was second to none, not least due to his studies in philology. The creator of “The Hobbit“ and “The Lord of the Rings” was on a quest for the perfect language. As he could not find it anywhere, he invented it himself: Elvish is probably the most famous of the dozens of languages developed by the phonology aficionado in the course of time; his other creations include such languages as Valarin, Orkish or the dwarfs’ Khuzdul. Tolkien even invented independent scripts and alphabets, such as Cirth or Tengwar.
Short sentences, reporting schemes and compact statements – Ernest Hemingway is ranked among the founding fathers of modern classicism. The Nobel laureate in literature attempted to counteract the threat of declining readership by implementing various methods of linguistic reduction. Revered around the world for such works as “The Old Man and the Sea” or “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, Hemingway coined the so-called iceberg theory:
“If a prose writer knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”Ernest Hemingway
The vulgar and voyeuristic devaluation of words is what certain critics believe Charles Bukowski’s oeuvre to be. It is fair to say, though, that the work of the American poet and author was nothing short of polarising. While one side condemned him as a street poet, others admired him for his ruthless candour and social criticism. Although Bukowski’s poetry does not adhere to verse form or rimes, he published more than forty works in his lifetime – and is still regarded to be one of the most widely read authors of his time.
Would Genderanalyzer have identified Shakespeare as a man? We doubt it and are ready to break all the rules. Whether a certain style of writing is considered male or female ultimately makes no difference. It is much more important that your style is individual and original. If you really wish to stand out from the crowd, what better way than to take Tolkien as an example and create your very own language.
Which authors do you admire for their style of writing? Write a comment and let us know!
Keep writing, keep typing!