Algorithmic Criticism: The Poster
We read today in an age of abundance, when digital texts give 21st-century humanists access to vast collections of data. Text-analysis tools are enabling new modes of ‘distant’ reading, or ‘macroanalysis’ of these texts at scale.
But what qualitative nuances do we lose when we use these new quantitative tools? Does the benefit of breaking up the canon of 200 Victorian novels outweigh the burden of reading the other 99% of books printed in that century? How do we grapple with the billion words printed in English before 1700?
This seminar contrasts traditional close-reading with distant reading, using new digital tools and methodologies. We’ll read familiar forms (the sonnet) and lesser-known genres (Samuel Pepys’s 17th-century Diary) as test cases for students to posit, test, and refine hypotheses about a range of texts.
Open to graduate students in English, and interested graduate students from other departments. Senior undergraduates are also welcome to inquire about registration.