Computer Scans Identify Hillary Clinton Memoir Styles

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Computer Scans Identify Hillary Clinton Memoir Styles

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

by Foreign and Commonwealth Office

In the political memoirs of Hillary Clinton, a new study finds two contrasting writing styles. The underlying theme, Clinton’s guardedness, highlights specific challenges facing women who run for office.

The analysis of Clinton’s Living History and Hard Choices uncovers links to the US democratic presidential candidate’s public perception problems.

Hillary Clinton

In the article, David Kaufer of Carnegie Mellon University and Shawn J. Parry-Giles of the University of Maryland show that both memoirs are written with a future presidential run in mind.

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For their analysis, Kaufer and Parry-Giles, professor and chair of the University of Maryland’s department of communication, used DocuScope, a digital humanities tool developed at Carnegie Mellon to statistically tag, examine, and visualize text for rhetorical patterns.

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They found that Living History, which spans Clinton’s childhood through her years as first lady, is written in the Boswellian approach, meaning it delves into her most intimate thoughts. Hard Choices, written to recount her tenure as secretary of state, uses the Plutarchian style of focusing on the leader’s public service performance.

“But that is only the beginning of the story,” says Kaufer, professor of English in Carnegie Mellon’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Our important finding was the interweav