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Literary enquiry & experimental method Professor Willard McCarty King’s College London staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/ Crossing Boundaries, Università di.

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Presentation on theme: "Literary enquiry & experimental method Professor Willard McCarty King’s College London staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/ Crossing Boundaries, Università di."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literary enquiry & experimental method Professor Willard McCarty King’s College London staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/ Crossing Boundaries, Università di Bari, Italia, 28/4/2008

2 2 No amount of refinement or subtlety within the world of mechanism can avail; once we are in that world, what we need is already gone. Thus, we must retreat to an earlier epistemological stage, before the assumptions that characterize mechanisms have been made. Robert Rosen, Life Itself: A Comprehensive Inquiry into the Nature, Origin, and Fabrication of Life (1991): xvi Rather than think of the computer as a kind of brain, think of it as a kind of book…. a machine for processing a variety of symbolic forms organized in looping autopoietic structures…. Jerome McGann, “Visible language, Interface, IVANHOE”, in The Scholar’s Art: Literary Studies in a Managed World (2006): 15.

3 3 1.The problem 2.Lessons of history, The matchmaker’s tasks 4. What the tools say 5. Turning to confront the context 6. Bridging discourse 7. An improvisational companion to criticism?

4 4 Herbert Simon, untitled lecture notes, Operations Research Society of America meeting, 14 November 1957

5 5 Times Literary Supplement, 27 April 1962 Not a “menial tool” but a telescope of the mind that may change our outlook.

6 6 Globe and Mail, 16 November 1965 Scientific American, May 2001

7 7

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9 9 Computers and the Humanities 1 (1966: 3-6) Next step is to be “truly imaginative” Scholars’ primary involvement is with the creative act Reorganization of thinking for the new age

10 10 Computers and the Humanities 11 (1978): the problem is our limited conceptual framework and the unexamined concept of text Our range of vision has not been enlarged

11 11 1.The problem 2.Lessons of history, The matchmaker’s tasks 4. What the tools say 5. Turning to confront the context 6. Bridging discourse 7. An improvisational companion to criticism?

12 12 Multa pinxit, hic Brugelius, quae pingi non possunt.... In omnibus eius operibus intelligitur plus semper quam pingitur. He painted many things, this Bruegel, that cannot be painted…. In all of his works, more is to be understood than is painted. Abraham Ortelius, Album Amicorum ( )

13 13 Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece (26. Auflage)

14 14 Computers and the Humanities 11 (1978): In Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Schreibman, Siemens and Unsworth (Blackwell’s, 2004)

15 15 1.The problem 2.Lessons of history, The matchmaker’s tasks 4. What the tools say 5. Turning to confront the context 6. Bridging discourse 7. An improvisational companion to criticism?

16 16 Keyword-in-context concordancer

17 17 Literary concepts & their interrelations expressed in software Relational database diagram A typical ontology diagram

18 18 Commentary in an annotation tool

19 19 Traces of stylistic features from a statistical analyzer

20 20 On-screen output from a keyword-in- context concordancer Phrasal concordance to the Bible, 16C

21 21 9C glossed ms of Martianus Capella, De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii (Leiden 48) Annotated scholarly article using Pliny

22 22 Relational database diagram of a literary trope Tree of Knowledge, from Ramon Llull, Arbor Scientiae (late 13C)

23 23 1.The problem 2.Lessons of history, The matchmaker’s tasks 4. What the tools say 5. Turning to confront the context 6. Bridging discourse 7. An improvisational companion to criticism?

24 24 modelling of modelling for Modelling relations Natural system/ artefact Formal/ abstract system internal logic Based on Rosen 2000: 159 and Geertz 1993/1973: 93. internal logic

25 25 Improvisational modelling Formal/ abstract system internal logic ? Various temporary “construals”

26 26 1.The problem 2.Lessons of history, The matchmaker’s tasks 4. What the tools say 5. Turning to confront the context 6. Bridging discourse 7. An improvisational companion to criticism?

27 27 Computational analogy of mind: human brain cells grown in tissue culture on a Motorola chip Judy Trogadis, Toronto Western Hospital, 1985; cf. John K. Stevens, “Reverse Engineering the Brain”, Byte (April 1985):

28 28 1.The problem 2.Lessons of history, The matchmaker’s tasks 4. What the tools say 5. Turning to confront the context 6. Bridging discourse 7. An improvisational companion to criticism?

29 29 IVANHOE Possible Ivanhoes Scott’s original text Various players

30 30 Vere, inquam, magistrum mirabilem mihi dedisti, qui a me factus me doceat, meque docens ipse nihil sapiat. Imo propter patientiam et obedientiam sui eum maxime amplector; cantabit enim mihi quando voluero, et numquam de mei sensus tarditate commotus verberibus vel iniuriis cruciabit. ? Indeed, I say, you gave me a wonderful master, who made by me teaches me, and teaching me himself knows nothing. Rather I embrace him in submission and obedience; truly he will play to me when I wish, and never will he torment, with floggings or blows, the thoughts that move slowly from me. Odo Cluniacensis, Dialogus de musica (late 10C), Synopsis 4 (Migne, 133, 759Dsq)


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