Iíve spotted a publisherís announcement for a "million
words novel". Wow, million words! Arenít you impressed?
Iím not. The very idea of using the number of words as a
qualifying criterion for a novel is a downgrading of a novel. The
publisher must be carried astray by the current euphoria with Big
Data. Does he think that, just because previously counting
words with finger and pencil was tedious, literary critics did not
use that criterion? And nowadays computers make the task
gratifying? Should we expect announcements about the number of
semicolons (;), quotation marks ("), exclamation symbols (!)
and triple dots (...)?
Iíve got carried away - number of semicolons would do only a
core statistician. A literary statistician will count the number
of unique words, proper names excluded at the higher level of the
approach, probably after several Pd.D. theses on the subject.
Further on, some key unique words could be used for the classifi-
cation of literary works. For instance, the occurrence of the word
fuck could be used as a delimiter of so called contemporary