Literary Macroanalysis

Resources (the actual teaching module)

What happens when literary study meets big data? This modules offers instructors a brief theoretical and practical exploration of a method in digital liberal arts sometimes called “distant reading,” which uses computational methods to discover and interpret patterns in large samples of literary texts. Macroanalysis represents a relatively new approach to the study of literature, searching for insights about literary history that traditional methods, using small samples of texts, cannot.

Applying the methods described in Matthew Jockers’ book, Macroanalysis, the module features three short exercises using literary metadata, stylometry, and topic modeling, with introductions to online tools, suitable for students and beginners, including  Google Ngram Viewer, MALLET, and Voyant. These exercises are designed to lead to applications of macroanalysis in literary studies and other disciplines, particularly in a potential two-week module in a DLA 101 course.

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