KCL • CCH • Minor programme • AV1000 • Text analysis
This exercise in text-analytic exploration centres on the transcripts of Irving vs. Penguin Books and Lipstadt, held in the Royal Courts of Justice, London, in 1996. It concerns a libel suit brought by David Irving, an historian who lives and works in the U.K., against American professor Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust—The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. In the words Mr Justice Gray in his judgement of 28 August 2001, Irving maintained in his suit that passages in Lipstadt's book “accuse him of being a Nazi apologist and an admirer of Hitler, who has resorted to the distortion of facts and to the manipulation of documents in support of his contention that the Holocaust did not take place”. The judgement (which ran to 132,000 words) was in favour of the defendants, i.e. against Irving.
The trial attracted much attention for obvious reasons. Passions continue to run high, and most online sources that mention Irving are polemical if not propagandistic, as a Web search for “david irving” will reveal. (These make for an interesting exercise in Web-site evaluation.) See for example the Guardian Unlimited special report, The Irving Libel Trial.
From an historian's perspective, Irving's work is significant within the context of a revisionist movement that questions received views on a wide variety of 20th century problems. See (and look critically at) the Web-site of the Institute for Historical Review for more from the revisionists themselves.
The data are provided in two ways:
If you download the latter, you will need WinZip or the equivalent. Once you have the three text files, you are ready to explore the corpus.
revised November 2007