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Computation

The Language of Quantity

I have been writing a new piece about using computational modeling to study the legacy of Augustinian conversion in the modern novel. The project began when I tried to devise ways of detecting greater or lesser degrees of narrative binaryness across a broad range of texts, including novels and autobiographies. …

Reading’s Feelings

In a recent article in Slate magazine, I argued that the kind of reading we do with books is significantly different from that of e-books. I based my observations on the tactile differences between these two technologies. I suggested that such somatic differences changed the way words assumed meaning on …

The Sparsity of Poetry

As part of my new work with computational reading, I’ve begun creating a library of network tables for different authors’ corpuses. I’m taking a course on network theory right now and I’m interested in trying to see what happens when we think about representing an author’s writings as a network …

Reading’s Black Boxes

One of the bigger challenges facing the humanities today with the changing nature of our reading interfaces is the problem of technical opacity, what goes by the colloquial name of the black box. Do we need to know how computers or computation work to understand an electronic text? Or can …

Back to School: What do you do when you come back and your department is gone? Go to computer class of course.

When I returned to school last month, two things had changed noticeably on my campus. First, my department was gone. The department of German literature and culture, in which I had been a professor, was the latest victim in the so-called decline of the humanities. (To be fair, we weren’t …

You are being counted

“You very rarely get a glimpse into the reader’s mind,” David Levithan of Scholastic Books says. “With a printed book, there’s no such thing as an analytic. You can’t tell which pages are dog-eared.” A new piece at the Wall Street Journal by Alexandra Alter about how publishers are finally getting …