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…

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…

Bad Graphs, or, I Have a BA in English

Bad Graphs, or, I Have a BA in English

Not to brag, but it’s almost impressive how many times I got something so simple so profoundly wrong, in so many odd ways.

z, p, t, d, and counting

z, p, t, d, and counting

I made the a list the other day of all of the letters, names, and new terms I have had to learn to undertake the computational study of literature and culture. It was very long. It made me realize that when researchers speak of the…

Rethinking the Table of Contents

Rethinking the Table of Contents

I wanted to share an experiment that I worked on with Mark Algee-Hewitt to reconstruct the table of contents of our new collaboratively authored book, Interacting with Print. The book was written by 22 co-authors around the theme of interactivity. Mark and I thought it…

1000 Words

1000 Words

Lab member Fedor Karmanov has created a beautiful new project that combines machine vision, machine learning, and poetry. It is called “1,000 Words,” and takes the self-portraits of Van Gogh and generates poems based on the colours and items in the portrait. The poems consist…

The Danger of the Single Story – Why Quantity Matters

The Danger of the Single Story – Why Quantity Matters

I listened to a beautiful podcast the other day by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on “the danger of the single story.” Her point was that when we only tell one kind of story about a person or a place we cheapen our understanding. She began with…