Centro Studi comparati “I Deug-Su”
(Univ. di Siena, Dip. Filologia e critica
delle letterature antiche e moderne)
Associazione per l'Informatica Umanistica e la Cultura Digitale
in collaboration with
The Coordinating Committee for the Comparative History
of Literatures in European Languages
The Mechanic Reader:
Digital Methods of Literary Criticism
Siena, Certosa di Pontignano, 12-13 June 2015
"the unprecedented empirical power of digital tools and archives offers a unique chance to rethink the categories of literary study" (F. Moretti, Operationalizing, dec. 2013)
One of the recent evolutions of literary criticism concerns the application of computing approaches to the analysis of texts, which helps foreground features usually invisibles to traditional reading. This approach is also able to process massive quantities of text that are not manageable by way of a traditional human reading. Following this direction, Franco Moretti, Matt Jokers and the Stanford Literary Lab have developed a provocative concept of “distant” access to texts, which sets aside the expectation of direct knowledge and close reading, emphasizing instead a globalizing view of world literature. Such an approach on one side raised a lively debate, and on another side has been popularized even outside the professional scholarship, as testified by the permanent column which the New York Times has dedicated to it in its literary supplement. (further mirrored in the virtual maps published every Sunday in Italy by the Corriere della Sera). Other scholars, even in fields different from literary history and the study of textuality, be they focused on Latin or English, Chinese or Italian literature, adopt similar methods to attempt a microscopic reading of the literary work, by analyzing its linguistic layers and stylistic phenomena usually invisible to a conventional philological or stylistic reading.
These newer analytic techniques, as well as the methodological changes that digital tools have brought about in the literary production and criticism, will be the focus of the seminar entitled "The Mechanic Muse," to be held in Siena between June 12 and 13, 2015. The seminar, the first organized in Italy on this topic, will include papers on classic, medieval and modern literatures, a round table on F. Moretti’s 2013 Distant Reading, as well asa presentation of the John Benjamins CHLEL series volume New Literary Hybrids in the Age of Multimedia Expression: Crossing Borders, Crossing genres, ed. by Marcel Cornis-Pope (2014), and of the 2014 issue of the journal Between on Tecnologia, Immaginazione e forme del narrare, ed. by Lucia Esposito, Emanuela Piga, Alessandra Ruggiero.
Proposal abstracts for 10 minute posters should be sent in English to firstname.lastname@example.org together with a CV or a brief self-introduction by February, 15, 2015. After a thorough peer review, the proceedings of the conference will be published in the issue LIII (2015/2) of Semicerchio. Rivista di poesia comparata.
Topics: Reading automata, Digital reading networks, Comptutational models of narrative, Computer-based analysys of literary texts, Quantitative Literary History, Distant Reading, Authorship detection and literary criticism, Transmedia criticism.
Board: Marcel Cornis-Pope (Virginia Commonwealth Univ., Head of CHLEL), Fabio Ciotti (Univ. “Sapienza” Roma, President of AIUCD and member of TEI boards), Emanuela Piga (Univ. di Sassari, ed. of Between), Francesco Stella (Univ. Siena, AIUCD and CHLEL member, editor of Semicerchio)