On Thursday and Friday (Oct. 22nd and 23rd) I was at the 2nd workshop for the Text Mining the Novel project. My conference notes are here Text Mining The Novel 2015. We had a number of great papers on the issue of genre (this year’s topic.) Here are some general reflections:
- The obvious weakness of text mining is that it operates on the novel as text, specifically digital text (or string.) We need to find ways to also study the novel as material object (thing), as a social object, as a performance (of the reader), and as an economic object in a market place. Then we also have to find ways to connect these.
- So many analytical and mining processes depend on bags of words from dictionaries to topics. Is this a problem or a limitation? Can we try to abstract characters, plot, or argument.
- I was interested in the philosophical discussions around the epistemological in novels and philosophical claims about language and literature.