Enumerations

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 […]

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 […]