Dr. Michael and Jill Farringdon Ariel Cottage, 8 Hadland Terrace West Cross Swansea SA3 5TT, Wales
Dear Ms. Cole,
My attention has been drawn to your essay “An Investigation into the Authorship of The Dark Tower”, in which you write that although Andrew Morton’s “complex statistical technique of author identification is admissable in British Courts, it only works on everyday speech (as in written confessions) not on a literary composition…”. As the author of Analyzing for Authorship (University of Wales Press, 1996), a textbook and research study into the technique’s literary and lingusitic applications, copiously illustrated, it falls to me to correct several misapprehensions in your quotation above:
1. The technique is not “complex.” As a learned Judge remarked in the Central Criminal Court, Dublin, during the longest running trial in Irish history, “You could do this with an abacus” (instead of a computer). To which the reply was a “True, my Lord, but it would take somewhat longer.” Please note that the method of cusum analysis is always swiftly grasped by members of an ordinary jury with no expertise in statistics. It can be carried out by anyone (including you yourself) with the motivation to learn how to do it .
2. QSUM has been used in evidence not only in British but in Irish, Australian and Canadian courts, and also used in a Jamaican case. In British justice, its most recent vindication has come with the release (Feb. 1997, the Carl Bridgwater case) of three men who had been wrongfully convicted and spent 18 years in prison: Andrew Morton was not only able to discredit the ‘confession’, but to match the statement to its real author.
3. Your assertion that the technique works only for everyday speech is massively incorrect (where did you acquire such misinformation?). My recent book gives analyses of *natural utterance, both written and spoken, including my own written utterance in samples from l953 1995 * edited text * translatedwork * children’s writing * dialect * disputed texts. My most recent researchhas shown definitively that cusum analysis works on the poetry/prose of Shakespeare and Marlowe (separating each from the other), as well as matching samples of Sylvia Plath’s poems and prose (indistinguishable by QSUM).
I trust that clarifies the facts as regards Morton’s technique, and itis proper here to emphasise his lifetime’s work on attribution of the Greek text of the New Testament Gospels, Acts, Pauline Epistles, and Revelations (his most recent publication is Gathering the Gospels, Mellen Press, 1997).The N.T. can hardly be called “everyday speech”, as you mistakenly state.
However, wearing my other hat, as a literary critic and poetry book reviewer (published in national newspapers, Poetry Wales, Planet, The Anglo Welsh Review, and The New England Review and Bread Loaf Quarterly), perhaps I might be permitted to give my own literary response to The Dark Tower. My reading of pp. 29-36, with the description of ‘the Man’ and the ‘sting in his forehead’ which is ‘like a unicorn’s horn’ seems to me pure homosexual fantasy. After all, we all know what the unicorn’s horn represents! Whatever else Lewis was –fornicator, adulterer, penitent sinner– he was not, I think, homosexually inclined.