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  1. Canon/archive : large-scale dynamics in the literary field

    Of the novelties introduced by digitization in the study of literature, the size of the archive is probably the most dramatic: we used to work on a couple of hundred nineteenth-century novels, and now we can analyze thousands of them, tens of... mehr

     

    Of the novelties introduced by digitization in the study of literature, the size of the archive is probably the most dramatic: we used to work on a couple of hundred nineteenth-century novels, and now we can analyze thousands of them, tens of thousands, tomorrow hundreds of thousands. It's a moment of euphoria, for quantitative literary history: like having a telescope that makes you see entirely new galaxies. And it's a moment of truth: so, have the digital skies revealed anything that changes our knowledge of literature? This is not a rhetorical question. In the famous 1958 essay in which he hailed "the advent of a quantitative history" that would "break with the traditional form of nineteenth-century history", Fernand Braudel mentioned as its typical materials "demographic progressions, the movement of wages, the variations in interest rates [...] productivity [...] money supply and demand." These were all quantifiable entities, clearly enough; but they were also completely new objects compared to the study of legislation, military campaigns, political cabinets, diplomacy, and so on. It was this double shift that changed the practice of history; not quantification alone. In our case, though, there is no shift in materials: we may end up studying 200,000 novels instead of 200; but, they're all still novels. Where exactly is the novelty?

     

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    Quelle: CompaRe
    Sprache: Englisch
    Medientyp: Arbeitspapier
    Format: Online
    DDC Klassifikation: Literatur und Rhetorik (800)
    Sammlung: Stanford Literary Lab
    Schlagworte: Quantitative Literaturwissenschaft; Digital Humanities; Romantheorie
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  2. Popularity/Prestige
    Autor*in: Porter, J. D.
    Erschienen: 08.11.2018

    What is the canon? Usually this question is just a proxy for something like, "Which works are in the canon?" But the first question is not just a concise version of the second, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Instead, it can ask what the... mehr

     

    What is the canon? Usually this question is just a proxy for something like, "Which works are in the canon?" But the first question is not just a concise version of the second, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Instead, it can ask what the structure of the canon is - in other words, when things are in the canon, what are they in? This question came to the fore during the project that resulted in Pamphlet 11. The members of that group were looking for morphological differences between the canon and the archive. The latter they define, straightforwardly and capaciously, as "that portion of published literature that has been preserved—in libraries and elsewhere" The canon is a slipperier concept; the authors speak instead of multiple canons, like the books preserved in the Chadwyck-Healey Nineteenth-Century Fiction Collection, the constituents of the six different "best-twentieth century novels" lists analyzed by Mark Algee-Hewitt and Mark McGurl in Pamphlet 8, authors included in the British Dictionary of National Biography, and so forth. [...] This last conundrum points the way out of these difficulties and into a workable model of the structure of the canon. It suggests two different ways of entering the canon: being read by many and being prized by an elite few—or, to use the terms arrived at in Pamphlet 11, popularity and prestige. With these two dimensions, we arrive at a canonical space [...].

     

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