Good Reads and Easy Novels: Readability and Literary Quality in a Corpus of US-published Fiction

Yuri Bizzoni, Pascale Moreira, Nicole Dwenger, Ida Lassen, Mads Thomsen, Kristoffer Nielbo

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/proceedingKonferencebidrag i proceedingsForskningpeer review


In this paper, we explore the extent to which readability contributes to the perception of literary quality as defined by two categories of variables: expert-based (e.g., Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award) and crowd-based (e.g., GoodReads, WorldCat). Based on a large corpus of modern and contemporary fiction in English, we examine the correlation of a text's readability with its perceived literary quality, also assessing readability measures against simpler stylometric features. Our results show that readability generally correlates with popularity as measured through open platforms such as GoodReads and WorldCat but has an inverse relation with three prestigious literary awards. This points to a distinction between crowd- and expert-based judgments of literary style, as well as to a discrimination between fame and appreciation in the reception of a book.
TitelProceedings of the 24th Nordic Conference on Computational Linguistics (NoDaLiDa)
RedaktørerTanel Alumäe, Mark Fishel
Antal sider10
ForlagUniversity of Tartu Library
Publikationsdatomaj 2023
ISBN (Trykt)978-99-1621-999-7
StatusUdgivet - maj 2023
NavnNEALT (Northern European Association of Language Technology) Proceedings Series