Universitatea „Babeș-Bolyai”, Cluj Napoca, Facultatea de Litere
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From Close Reading to Distant Reading. Evolutions in Comparative Studies
The theme of my proposal concerns quantitative methods and digital analysis in the recent literary theory. Starting from the assumption of the impossibility of accessing traditional ways of reading a textual corpus in its integrity (here I refer both to the exponential growth of interest for ex-centric literature, following the explosion of post-colonial studies, and to the discovery, as a result of several quantitative analyses, of a serious number of exponents for the central literatures), the quantitative research, and also the updated version of the literary analysis by means of the informational technology offers an ample theoretical area that deserves to be debated and disseminated in the Romanian academic field. From a comparatist perspective, I will try to trace the specific characteristics for the new paradigm of digital humanities and for the way in which the new methods of research can generate mutations of the comparatist discourse. My attempt is to make clear the concepts of quantitative research (distant reading, close reading) and digital humanities, and also to highlight the specific characteristics of the notions that are in the scope of this concept. Furthermore, I will try to question the relation between the methodological turn related to the most recent technologies and the traditional ways of reading and interpretation. Last but not least, I attempt to highlight the relation of influence between theories which precede the assessment of the concept digital, per se, and the ones that lead the research towards employing technological resources.
Keywords: distant reading, close reading, digital humanities, world literature, comparative literature
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