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2 - The Location of Literary History: Topic Modeling, Network Analysis, and the German Novel, 1731–1864

from I - Quantification

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2014

Matt Erlin
Affiliation:
Washington University
Matt Erlin
Affiliation:
Professor of German and Chair of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Lynne Tatlock
Affiliation:
Hortense and Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, both at Washington University, St. Louis
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Summary

Introduction

In looking over the contents of some of the leading journals in the field of German studies, one cannot help but be struck by the transformation that has taken place since roughly the 1970s. The articles in these journals reflect an extraordinary plurality of interests: postcolonial studies, gender studies, memory studies, psychoanalysis, narratology, and systems theory are all represented, as are many more approaches. In addition, remarkable progress has been made to open up the canon and expand the range of objects of inquiry to include film and nonliterary texts. One finds articles on the photographer Florian Profitlich and the Turkish-German author Emine Sevgi Özdamar alongside discussions of Hermann Hesse, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Ernst Toller, and E. T. A. Hoffmann. In one particular respect, however, not as much has changed as one might expect. Regardless of one's position on the theory debates of the past few decades, it seems safe to assert that we now have a markedly different conception of the solidity of categories such as “the author” and “the work” than was the case forty or fifty years ago. This conceptual shift, however, while it may constitute a topic of discussion within the essays, is only occasionally reflected in the framing of the analysis itself. With some notable exceptions, it remains the case that individual authors and works constitute the primary focus of our scholarship. Particularly compelling support for this assertion can be found in the publication record of The German Quarterly, which, although it certainly has a unique intellectual profile and is only one of many journals in the field, can nonetheless be taken as representative of the discipline.

Type
Chapter
Information
Distant Readings
Topologies of German Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century
, pp. 55 - 90
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2014

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