Many happy returns

I’ve been busy, in motion across the Atlantic and back, and haven’t updated while off on adventure! I was writing everywhere–preparing for a conference talk and writing a first draft of a grant application in a tent, while camping near the Scottish border. On my trip I met some wonderful people at the friendliest conference imaginable in Keswick England (the Robert Southey conference of course!), and talked about digital humanities and romanticism, and of course, one of my favorite topics–Robert Southey’s poem Thalaba the Destroyer (1801)!

My next post will share my slides and talk: It was my first adventure with a network analysis, devoted to studying a very complex and worldly poem indeed. And on my return across the ocean, at a much bigger conference on Romanticism in Boston, I heard a very impressive talk indeed, highly pertinent to this blog as it was entitled “Digital Romanticism”–delivered by one Mark Algee-Hewitt of the Stanford Literary Lab.

This digital romanticist is very impressed indeed with Mark’s work–as he showed us how the tools typically deployed by network analysis can indeed be highly useful for mapping complex structures in specific texts–You *can* distant-read a text and learn something new from it that you wouldn’t have learned so well with your eyes alone. Mark showed us a series of network graphs he’d made of topics in Schlegel’s Athenaeum fragments, to show which were topically most related to the others. Something like the slides he showed us is modeled in his work on the Interacting with Print project at McGill. I’m glad to have met Mark, and that we’ll be consulting with him on our Digital Mitford project!

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Elisa Beshero-Bondar

Associate Professor of English http://about.me/ebbondar

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