A Genealogy of Distant Reading

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

It has recently become common to describe all empirical approaches to literature as subfields of digital humanities. This essay argues that distant reading has a largely distinct genealogy stretching back many decades before the advent of the internet – a genealogy that is not for the most part centrally concerned with computers. It would be better to understand this field as a conversation between literary studies and social science, inititated by scholars like Raymond Williams and Janice Radway, and moving slowly toward an explicitly experimental method. Candor about the social-scientific dimension of distant reading is needed now, in order to refocus a research agenda that can drift into diffuse exploration of digital tools. Clarity on this topic might also reduce miscommunication between distant readers and digital humanists.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDigital Humanities Quarterly
Volume11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

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Genealogy
Distant Reading
Reader
Research Agenda
Social Sciences
Literary Studies
Experimental Method
Miscommunication
Clarity
Humanist
World Wide Web
Raymond Williams

Cite this

A Genealogy of Distant Reading. / Underwood, William E.

In: Digital Humanities Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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