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    Diachronic Delta: A computational and dialectical method for analysing literary corpora

    Beausang, Chris (2021) Diachronic Delta: A computational and dialectical method for analysing literary corpora. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Much has been written on computational literary studies' (CLS) rigidity and reductiveness in comparison with literary criticism's more pragmatic and intuitive means of approaching its object of study. This thesis attempts to undermine this antinomy via dialectical materialist philosophy as proposed by George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and developed by Karl Marx. As a science and a method of social critique, dialectics not only has a long history of usage within literary criticism, but they also provide a means of mediating the distinctions between empirical evidence, logic and intuition. We do so by operationalising .John Burrows' 'Delta' method across time mther than as it is conventionally applied, across text (.T. Burrows, "'Delta': a Measure of Stylistic Difference and a Guide to Likely Authorship"). We thereby identify particular years as being associated with extensive amounts of 'novelty' (which years introduce the most amount of distance from proceeding years) and also possess extensive amounts of 'resonance' (are relatively proximate to their successor years). This is undertaken on the basis that agents within a dataset which score highly for both of these metrics are highly innovative, as they are significantly different from the years which come before, and relatively similar to the years which come after (Barron et al., "Individuals, institutions, and innovation in the debates of the French Revolution."; Barron et al., "Supplementary Information: Individuals, Institutions, and Innovation in the Debates of the French Revolution"). We refer to these years as 'breaks' and identify them in order to contrast their behaviour with the longue-dunie approach increasingly prevalent within CLS (Underwood, Distant Horizons: Digital Evidence and Literary Change 25). Though this theory of incremental change ultimately remains in overall terms robust, this thesis nevertheless presents significant results arising from this method and demonstrates the ways in which dialectical materialist philosophy may ground the use of empirical methods more coherently within contemporary literary critical practice.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Diachronic Delta; computational and dialectical method; analysing; literary corpora;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Computer Science
    Item ID: 18024
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2024 16:02
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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