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HermeneuticaComputer-Assisted Interpretation in the Humanities$
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Geoffrey Rockwell and Stéfan Sinclair

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034357

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034357.001.0001

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There’s a Toy in My Essay: Problems with the Rhetoric of Text Analysis

There’s a Toy in My Essay: Problems with the Rhetoric of Text Analysis

(p.83) 5 There’s a Toy in My Essay: Problems with the Rhetoric of Text Analysis

Geoffrey Rockwell

Stéfan Sinclair

The MIT Press

Why do we fear computers in the humanities? Chapter 5 looks at the rhetoric around the use of computers in traditional activities like interpretation. A outline of how we interpret texts with computers is drawn from John B. Smith’s work on Joyce and “Computer Criticism.” The phases start with one of demarcating what is the text to be encoded, then analyzing it into parts, that can then be synthesized into new views. This leads to a discussion of new statistical and visual forms of synthesis and how they are useful when dealing with big text collections. An article from Etienne Brunet from 1989 on the exploitation of large corpora is used to look again at how visualizations and later hermeneutical interactives are appearing in humanities arguments. We return to how such toys can be embedded live into essays in way that allows readers to play with the interpretation without fear.

Keywords:   Rhetoric, Computer Criticism, John B. Smith, Interactives, Visualization

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