I've now taken my recent series of four posts on computational historicism and edited them into a single working paper. This required some reorganizing. I took that Stephen Greenblatt material that had opened the second post and moved it to the beginning of the working paper. The paper is thus framed by Stephen Greenblatt on the directionality of literary history (not his phrase) at the beginning and Edward Said on the autonomous aesthetic realm at the end. I've also expanded and tweaked some of the other discussions. I've also added two appendices.
You can download the paper HERE. Abstract and contents below.
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Toward a Computational Historicism: From Literary Networks to the Autonomous Aesthetic
Abstract: Stephen Greenblatt has identified pairs of moments in literary history such that the former moment must necessarily have preceded the later: literary history has a direction. This can be explained by asserting that the later texts required computational procedures capable of operating on the objects created by the earlier procedures, in the manner of Piaget’s reflective abstraction. Beyond Greenblatt’s examples two such pairs are examined, Amleth and Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale and Wuthering Heights. Also considered: Heuser and Le-Khac on 19th Century British novels. Three network-based network models are considered, at macro (topic modeling), meso (Moretti’s character networks), and micro scales (cognitive networks) of time.
Part 1: Greenblatt’s Difference: Time and History
Part 2: Conceptual Topology and Discourse
Part 3: Spatializing Time: Sonnet 129
Part 4: Abstraction at the Time Scale of History
Part 5: Into the Autonomous Aesthetic
Appendix 1: Hamlet as Ring, The Winter’s Tale also
Appendix 2: Nine Propositions in Computational Criticism