“Literature is not Data…” (so writes Stephen Marche)

While reading Monmonier’s book on maps for class, I came across Stephen Marche’s lambast against digital humanities in the current issue of LARB.  He seems to imply that scholars will view algorithmic readings of literary data and literature as if it all were the same and that only one interpretation could be derived. I cannot believe that is what he truly meant.  A very agonistic view, it is worth a quick read:  http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=1040

2 Responses to “Literature is not Data…” (so writes Stephen Marche)

  1. Dale Katherine Ireland November 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Rebecca, thank you very much for pointing us to Marche’s piece, which has me thinking about how narrative theory works or opens up with algorithmic readings. This is something I keep coming back to because I am using Google maps (working on making this a class assignment) to map specific instances in Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography (resolving the non-canonical with the canonical as it takes place before his slavery, during his slavery, and after his slavery) and I would like to use, at some juncture, algorithmic readings of other abolitionist autobiographies to expand the map–the map indicating time, place, and specific resolution. I am not good at articulating this just yet, but Marche seems to miss a point: people are still at the helm. I am trying to decide if what I am creating is more than a graphic narrative as explained by Monmonier. Thank you for giving me more to consider, Rebecca!

  2. Truck scales November 12, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    Though I haven’t read the book and it would be quite unfair to comment on it but what you’ve posted here, it indeed sounds like an agnostic view.

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