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Welcome to .txtLAB, a digital humanities laboratory at McGill University directed by Andrew Piper. We explore the use of computational and quantitative approaches towards understanding literary and cultural phemonena in both the past and present. Our aim is to engage in critical and creative uses of the tools of network science, machine learning, or image processing to think about language, literature, and culture at both the large and small scale.
The Werther Effect
MLA Panel on Macroanalysis

MLA Panel on Macroanalysis

I gave a paper at this year’s MLA on combining quantitative and qualitative analysis together with Hoyt Long and Richard So of the global literary networks group at the University of Chicago. My paper was titled “The Wertherian Exotext.” Using corpuses from the Hathi Trust in German, English and French of between 10,000-25,000 texts, I...
Page Map 2 - 10 Most Concentrated Clusters

Page Map 2 – 10 Most Concentrated Clusters

Key: Most Concetrated to Least Concentrated 1. Chartreuse 2. Magenta 3. Dark Blue 4. Gold 5. Red 6. Sky Blue 7. Purple 8. Dark Green 9. Orange 10. Brown  
Page Map 2 - Secondary Cluster

Page Map 2 – Secondary Cluster

Key: Orange = The Swiss Journey; Pink = General Natural Philosophy; Purple = Writings on Art (1788-1800); Light Pink = Winckelmann’s Century; Green = Writings on the Theater; Gold = Meteorologie; Blue = Contributions to the Morning Paper (Morgenblatt); Red = Maxims and Reflections on Literature and Ethics; Light Blue = Poems Addressed to Persons...
Page Map 1 - Most Concentrated Clusters

Page Map 1 – Most Concentrated Clusters

Key: Cluster Concentration, from most concentrated to least 1. Chartreuse 2. Magenta 3. Dark Blue 4. Gold 5. Red 6. Sky Blue 7. Purple 8. Dark Green 9. Orange 10. Brown In our essay, we focus on the purple cluster, in which we find a predominant figural concern with the notion of the hand, one...
Page Map 1 - Werther Cluster

Page Map 1 – Werther Cluster

Key: Pink = Werther 1st Ed.; Red = Werther 2nd Ed.; Orange = Wilhelm Meister’s Travels Part I; Blue = Biography of Philipp Hackert; Green = Conversations of German Refugees; Light Pink = Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, Books 7-8; Purple = Rameau’s Nephew; Light Blue = The Outraged; Gold = The Wager; Light Green = Anecdotes...
Goethe's Corpus - Period Map

Goethe’s Corpus – Period Map

Key: Green = Early (1749-1788) Blue = Classical (1789-1805) Red = Late (1806-1832) This is the same topology as the previous post colored by period. As you can see from the map, far from correlating strongly with Goethe’s early period, Werther is intermixed with both the middle and late periods. According to the recurrence of...
Goethe's Corpus - Genre Map

Goethe’s Corpus – Genre Map

Key: red = literary prose (novels, autobiographies, etc.) yellow = poetry green = drama pink = critical essays blues = science writings shaded accorded to field (lightest = morphology, gray blue = anatomy, medium blue = color theory, bright blue = geology, dark blue = meteorology) For a list of works that correspond to the...
Work List - Goethe's Corpus

Work List – Goethe’s Corpus

Below is a list of the 255 “works” we are using to represent Goethe’s corpus. Their “label” corresponds with the number representing their place in the following diagrams. The period corresponds to the standard periodization of Goethe’s works (early = 1749-1788, middle = 1789-1805, late = 1806-1832). The Genre corresponds to our five general categories...
Word List of Wertherness 1 - Commonality

Word List of Wertherness 1 – Commonality

In order to look for the lexical affinities among a given corpus, we first model our theoretical category according to a limited set of words, what we might call a lexical thumbprint or finite web of language unique to that category. The following are the words we are using to represent the first edition of The Sorrows...
The Werther Effect - Project Summary

The Werther Effect – Project Summary

  Incidentally, as I’ve repeatedly said, I have only ever reread that book once since its initial appearance and have protected myself from ever doing it again. Those are some serious fireworks! Its uncanny for me and I am afraid of reexperiencing the pathological state from which it emerged. Übrigens habe ich das Buch, wie...
The Werther Effect

The Werther Effect

In what ways does Goethe’s Werther live on in eighteenth-century writing? This project seeks to develop new ways of understanding textual circulation across national boundaries. How can we develop maps of affective communities of reading? For an overview of the project, go here. For the project summary, here.