[Humanist] 27.365 comparing corpora: published studies?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Sep 22 10:18:25 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 365.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2013 16:10:00 +0200
        From: "Dr. Hartmut Krech" <kr538 at zfn.uni-bremen.de>
        Subject: Re:  27.340 comparing corpora
        In-Reply-To: <20130914100818.44C5F3055 at digitalhumanities.org>

Thanks to Jan Rybicki and Alex Gil for directing my
attention to Stylo, Juxta and ARTFL. All of these are
valuable tools of computational text analysis. As such, they 
are in line with the general research objective of 
"discovering" some hidden or implicit quality of a given 
text. Even the attribution of an anonymous text to a certain 
author follows this "detective" plot. In pre-digital times, 
such qualities of texts were hardly noticeable, if only by 

My query actually aimed at completed and published studies 
comparing the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of 
entire corpora, say Einstein's total "out-put" as compared 
to Goethe's "Werke," the literary production of the French 
encyclopedists as compared to the writings of the American 
transcendentalists, etc. How much needs to be written to 
make a point clear or to make an impression? Which point and 
what impression upon whom? And how about those writers who 
were silenced, e.g. the numerical and thematic proportions 
of their published to their unpublished opera.

At that point, text typology rather than text aesthetics may 
come into play, as it has become a known fact that all 
digitizable utterances of any one person may become subject 
to text-analytical tools. Perhaps not a value judgment, but 
a simple consideration may become relevant here, namely, if 
a certain utterance was, at least potentially, made with a 
view to the rest of humanity. I feel that this human 
perspective basically constitutes a "work" of art or science 
as opposed to aggregatable data. To attribute casual 
utterances to certain individuals does not appear to be a 
wise strategy in my eyes, if sensible communication is 
intended. And it should always be intended.

By the way and slightly off-topic: The British physician 
Hugh Doherty, a disciple of Fourier's, seems to have been 
the first to distinguish preconscious, subconscious, 
unconscious, and "fully conscious" domains of experience in 
humans "so that experience means nothing more than 
consciousness" (1871, 2). I wonder if and how Doherty's 
"organic" philosophy may be regarded as an early forerunner 
or alternative to modern "digital" philosophy.

Best regards,

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