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  1. Quantitative formalism: an experiment

    This paper is the report of a study conducted by five people – four at Stanford, and one at the University of Wisconsin – which tried to establish whether computer-generated algorithms could "recognize" literary genres. You take 'David Copperfield',... mehr

     

    This paper is the report of a study conducted by five people – four at Stanford, and one at the University of Wisconsin – which tried to establish whether computer-generated algorithms could "recognize" literary genres. You take 'David Copperfield', run it through a program without any human input – "unsupervised", as the expression goes – and ... can the program figure out whether it's a gothic novel or a 'Bildungsroman'? The answer is, fundamentally, Yes: but a Yes with so many complications that it is necessary to look at the entire process of our study. These are new methods we are using, and with new methods the process is almost as important as the results.

     

    Hinweise zum Inhalt: kostenfrei
    Quelle: CompaRe
    Sprache: Englisch
    Medientyp: Arbeitspapier
    Format: Online
    DDC Klassifikation: Literatur und Rhetorik (800); Literaturtheorie (801)
    Sammlung: Stanford Literary Lab
    Lizenz: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  2. Network theory, plot analysis
    Erschienen: 01.05.2011

    In the last few years, literary studies have experienced what we could call the rise of quantitative evidence. This had happened before of course, without producing lasting effects, but this time it’s probably going to be different, because this time... mehr

     

    In the last few years, literary studies have experienced what we could call the rise of quantitative evidence. This had happened before of course, without producing lasting effects, but this time it’s probably going to be different, because this time we have digital databases, and automated data retrieval. As Michel’s and Lieberman’s recent article on "Culturomics" made clear, the width of the corpus and the speed of the search have increased beyond all expectations: today, we can replicate in a few minutes investigations that took a giant like Leo Spitzer months and years of work. When it comes to phenomena of language and style, we can do things that previous generations could only dream of.

    When it comes to language and style. But if you work on novels or plays, style is only part of the picture. What about plot – how can that be quantified? This paper is the beginning of an answer, and the beginning of the beginning is network theory. This is a theory that studies connections within large groups of objects: the objects can be just about anything – banks, neurons, film actors, research papers, friends... – and are usually called nodes or vertices; their connections are usually called edges; and the analysis of how vertices are linked by edges has revealed many unexpected features of large systems, the most famous one being the so-called "small-world" property, or "six degrees of separation": the uncanny rapidity with which one can reach any vertex in the network from any other vertex. The theory proper requires a level of mathematical intelligence which I unfortunately lack; and it typically uses vast quantities of data which will also be missing from my paper. But this is only the first in a series of studies we’re doing at the Stanford Literary Lab; and then, even at this early stage, a few things emerge.

     

    Hinweise zum Inhalt: kostenfrei
    Quelle: CompaRe
    Sprache: Englisch
    Medientyp: Arbeitspapier
    Format: Online
    DDC Klassifikation: Literatur und Rhetorik (800)
    Sammlung: Stanford Literary Lab
    Lizenz: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  3. Becoming Yourself : The Afterlife of Reception
    Autor: Finn, Ed
    Erschienen: 15.09.2011

    If there is one thing to be learned from David Foster Wallace, it is that cultural transmission is a tricky game. This was a problem Wallace confronted as a literary professional, a university-based writer during what Mark McGurl has called the... mehr

     

    If there is one thing to be learned from David Foster Wallace, it is that cultural transmission is a tricky game. This was a problem Wallace confronted as a literary professional, a university-based writer during what Mark McGurl has called the Program Era. But it was also a philosophical issue he grappled with on a deep level as he struggled to combat his own loneliness through writing. This fundamental concern with literature as a social, collaborative enterprise has also gained some popularity among scholars of contemporary American literature, particularly McGurl and James English: both critics explore the rules by which prestige or cultural distinction is awarded to authors (English; McGurl). Their approach requires a certain amount of empirical work, since these claims move beyond the individual experience of the text into forms of collective reading and cultural exchange influenced by social class, geographical location, education, ethnicity, and other factors. Yet McGurl and English's groundbreaking work is limited by the very forms of exclusivity they analyze: the protective bubble of creative writing programs in the academy and the elite economy of prestige surrounding literary prizes, respectively. To really study the problem of cultural transmission, we need to look beyond the symbolic markets of prestige to the real market, the site of mass literary consumption, where authors succeed or fail based on their ability to speak to that most diverse and complicated of readerships: the general public. Unless we study what I call the social lives of books, we make the mistake of keeping literature in the same ascetic laboratory that Wallace tried to break out of with his intense authorial focus on popular culture, mass media, and everyday life.

     

    Hinweise zum Inhalt: kostenfrei
    Quelle: CompaRe
    Sprache: Englisch
    Medientyp: Arbeitspapier
    Format: Online
    DDC Klassifikation: Literatur und Rhetorik (800)
    Sammlung: Stanford Literary Lab
    Lizenz: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  4. A Quantitative Literary History of 2,958 Nineteenth-Century British Novels : The Semantic Cohort Method
    Erschienen: 01.05.2012

    The nineteenth century in Britain saw tumultuous changes that reshaped the fabric of society and altered the course of modernization. It also saw the rise of the novel to the height of its cultural power as the most important literary form of the... mehr

     

    The nineteenth century in Britain saw tumultuous changes that reshaped the fabric of society and altered the course of modernization. It also saw the rise of the novel to the height of its cultural power as the most important literary form of the period. This paper reports on a long-term experiment in tracing such macroscopic changes in the novel during this crucial period. Specifically, we present findings on two interrelated transformations in novelistic language that reveal a systemic concretization in language and fundamental change in the social spaces of the novel. We show how these shifts have consequences for setting, characterization, and narration as well as implications for the responsiveness of the novel to the dramatic changes in British society.

    This paper has a second strand as well. This project was simultaneously an experiment in developing quantitative and computational methods for tracing changes in literary language. We wanted to see how far quantifiable features such as word usage could be pushed toward the investigation of literary history. Could we leverage quantitative methods in ways that respect the nuance and complexity we value in the humanities? To this end, we present a second set of results, the techniques and methodological lessons gained in the course of designing and running this project.

     

    Hinweise zum Inhalt: kostenfrei
    Quelle: CompaRe
    Sprache: Englisch
    Medientyp: Arbeitspapier
    Format: Online
    DDC Klassifikation: Literatur und Rhetorik (800)
    Sammlung: Stanford Literary Lab
    Lizenz: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  5. Style at the scale of the sentence

    We would study not style as such, but style 'at the scale of the sentence': the lowest level, it seemed, at which style as a distinct phenomenon became visible. Implicitly, we were defining style as a combination of smaller linguistic units, which... mehr

     

    We would study not style as such, but style 'at the scale of the sentence': the lowest level, it seemed, at which style as a distinct phenomenon became visible. Implicitly, we were defining style as a combination of smaller linguistic units, which made it, in consequence, particularly sensitive to changes in scale—from words to clauses to whole sentences.

     

    Hinweise zum Inhalt: kostenfrei
    Quelle: CompaRe
    Sprache: Englisch
    Medientyp: Arbeitspapier
    Format: Online
    DDC Klassifikation: Literatur und Rhetorik (800)
    Sammlung: Stanford Literary Lab
    Lizenz: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen