Toward an Algorithmic Criticism
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote
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When Willard McCarty proposed that we “ask in the context of computing what can (and must) be known of our artefacts, how we know what we know about them and how new knowledge is made,” he undoubtedly meant to lift our gaze above the merely practical matters suggested by the term “humanities computing” (McCarty 1231). ...
1. An Algorithmic Criticism
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Digital humanities, like most fields of scholarly inquiry, constituted itself through a long accretion of revolutionary insight, territorial rivalry, paradigmatic rupture, and social convergence. But the field is unusual in that it has often pointed both to a founder and to a moment of creation. ...
2. Potential Literature
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The word “algorithm” is an odd neologism. Most scholars now believe that the word relates back to the word “algorism,” which is in turn a corruption of the name of the Persian mathematician al-Kwārizmī from whose book, Kitāb al-jabr wa’l-muqābala (“Rules for Restoring and Equating”), we get the word “algebra” (Knuth 1). ...
3. Potential Readings
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“Algorithmic criticism”—the term I use to designate a reconceived computerassisted literary criticism—shares with Oulipo a desire to use the narrowing forces of constraint to enable the liberating visions of potentiality. Its medium is the computer, but it looks neither to the bare calculating facilities of the mechanism nor to the promise of machine intelligence for its inspiration. ...
4. The Turing Text
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Even scholars working far outside the disciplines that make up the field of artificial intelligence are familiar with the basic elements of the Turing test, in which the machine’s ability to mimic human language is presented as the touchstone of intelligent behavior. It is usually presented in the following way: ...
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A few years ago, Martin Mueller, the animating force behind the text analysis system WordHoard, decided to perform what we might call an experiment but would better be thought of as the fulfillment of a brief moment of curiosity. Using the system’s powerful word-counting and lemmatization features, Mueller was able to create lists of the most frequent words in Homer and Shakespeare: ...
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In many respects, digital humanities is a scholarly discipline like any other. It has, first and foremost, a community with a history. It also has books and journals, scholarly societies, yearly conferences, sources of funding, programs, curricula, students, faculty, and a vast network of scholars both traditional and nontraditional. ...
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Further Reading, About the Author, Publication Information
Page Count: 112
Publication Year: 2011