Galileo's Ariosto: The Value of a Mixed Methods Approach to Literary Analysis

Crystal Hall


Using Galileo Galilei's Saggiatore (1623) and Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando furioso (1532) as a focal point, this article evaluates a mixed methods approach for identifying matches of words and phrases that are rich material for close reading and contextualization. The method focuses on ngram matches and networks of phrases that are used together. The similarity of Galileo's treatise to Ariosto's poem is compared to 45 other early modern Italian texts to evaluate the relative exceptionalism or normality of the findings. Ngram matches reveal a series of previously unknown connections between the Saggiatore and Furioso, which indicate an analytical understanding of the poem, rather than borrowing of narrative or figurative expression. Network analysis offers a preliminary outline for two communities of texts that frequently use the same ngrams found in the Furioso.


Galileo; Ariosto; text mining; network analysis

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.