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Devotion by a Statistical Researcher about an Efficient Mystic [research study]

Statistics an be compiled about anything, independent of the question: is there any point in gathering statistics about this thing? The following study may be good fodder for teachers who wish to discuss that question with students:

The Temporal Making of a Great Literary Corpus by a XX-Century Mystic: Statistics of Daily Words and Writing Time,” Emilio Matricciani, Open Journal of Statistics, 2022, 12, 155-167. (Thanks to Trevor Lipscombe for bringing this to our attention.) The author explains:

Maria Valtorta (1897-1961, Italian mystic)—bedridden since 1934 because paralyzed—wrote in Italian 13,193 pages of 122 school notebooks concerning alleged mystical visions on Jesus’ life, during World War II and few following years. The contents—about 2.64 million words—are now scattered in different books. She could write from 2 to 6 hours without pausing, with steady speed, and twice in the same day. She never made corrections and was very proficient in Italian. We have studied her writing activity concerning her alleged mystical experience with the main scope of establishing the time sequence of daily writing. This is possible because she diligently annotated the date of almost every text. We have reconstructed the time series of daily words and have converted them into time series of writing time, by assuming a realistic speed of 20 words per minute, a reliable average value of fast handwriting speed, applicable to Maria Valtorta. She wrote for 1340 days, about 3.67 years of equivalent contiguous writing time, mostly concentrated in the years 1943 to 1948. This study is a first approach in evaluating the effort done, in terms of writing time, by a mystic turned out to be a very effective literary author.

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