Recent Posts

Does the decline of gender within literary studies matter?

Does the decline of gender within literary studies matter?

A little while back I posted on the unmoving ratio between male/female pronouns in a data set of ~60,000 articles in literary studies. The ratio has been stable at about 2:1 since the mid-1990s. While pronouns do not tell us everything we need to know […]

A Sense of an Ending: Poetry and Periods

A Sense of an Ending: Poetry and Periods

As part of my on-going fascination with punctuation, in Enumerations I look at the words that are most likely to be followed by a period in a collection of 75,000 twentieth-century poems. What we see are the very pronounced ways that poems tend to end […]

On Colons, or Standardization in Literary Studies

On Colons, or Standardization in Literary Studies

Sometimes things don’t need to be complicated. Have you ever wondered about the convention of using colons in titles of academic articles? As in, “Here’s my big idea: now let me narrow it down for you”? Well, I’ve never actually seen something that exhibits this […]

Novel Worlds: Theory + Computation

Novel Worlds: Theory + Computation

I am very excited for our *fifth* (!) annual NovelTM conference coming up this week. The aim of this year’s conferenceĀ is to begin the long overdue conversation between data-driven research and literary scholarship more generally. The particular theme of the conference will centre around the […]

Did we already know that?

Did we already know that?

For anyone who has ever given a talk using computational methods the response, “But didn’t we already know that?”, looms large in your consciousness. Nothing feels more deflating…and frustrating. I always want to respond, well, we believed we knew it and now we have more […]

How do we model stereotypes without stereotyping?

How do we model stereotypes without stereotyping?

We recently put out a paper on how racial bias functions in Hollywood films. This work was based on a few studies that came before it, namely this one, from USC Annenberg. We presented numerical analyses like the number of characters in different racial and […]

The Coding Turn in the Humanities

The Coding Turn in the Humanities

As part of my new book, I have made the code and all derived text data freely available online. The underlying text data has been shared as far as copyright restrictions would allow. As I mentioned in my initial post, this entailed a massive amount […]

Enumerations is out!

Enumerations is out!

My new book, Enumerations: Data and Literary Study, is now out with the University of Chicago Press. It’s a long-form exploration of the meaning of quantity in literature, from a study of punctuation in poetry, to plot structure in novels, to the semantics of character […]


%d bloggers like this: