Here is a blog entry on “Where to start with text mining” that looks very useful!
The Stone and the Shell
[Edit June 8, 2015: This blog post has been rewritten and updated. See Seven Ways Humanists are Using Computers to Understand Text.]
This post is an outline of discussion topics I’m proposing for a workshop at NASSR2012 (a conference of Romanticists). I’m putting it on the blog since some of the links might be useful for a broader audience.
In the morning I’ll give a few examples of concrete literary results produced by text mining. I’ll start the afternoon workshop by opening two questions for discussion: first, what are the obstacles confronting a literary scholar who might want to experiment with quantitative methods? Second, how do those methods actually work, and what are their limits?
I’ll also invite participants to play around with a collection of 818 works between 1780 and 1859, using an R program I’ve provided for the occasion. Links for these materials are at the end…
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A recent study has found, Jane Austen, author of “Pride and Prejudice, “ and Sir Walter Scott, the creator of “Ivanhoe,” had the greatest effect on other authors, in terms of writing style and themes.
These two were “the literary equivalent of Homo erectus, or, if you prefer, Adam and Eve,” Matthew L. Jockers wrote in research published last year. He based his conclusion on an analysis of 3,592 works published from 1780 to 1900. It was a lot of digging, and a computer did it.
Literary History, Seen Through Big Data’s Lens – NYTimes.com.
This kind of literary macro-history is fascinating, because it takes advantage of a wider lens than we have yet been able to wield. Of course, any attempts at quantifying the slippery concept of literary influence are subject to limitations; but scientists understand this, and make clear that such empiricized measures rely on assumptions that may prove to be false. Thus the measures themselves have to be tested and tweaked. The problem is that scientists understand this better than many literary scholars do. Literary scholars often assume that their methods are accurate measures of what they are trying to gauge. The concept of literary influence is one such (often) unexamined assumption.
Reblogging from a different blog that I am closing down…
Reblogging from another blog I am closing down…
Posted this to the wrong blog a while ago….