Culture Magazine

Does "distant Reading" Presage a Return to Poetics?

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
By all means, read the piece Goldstone links to in the first tweet,"The Doxa of Reading" (accepted for publication in PMLA).
Here’s a preprint of “The Doxa of Reading,” my short comment on “distant reading” and *Distant Reading*: — Andrew Goldstone (@goldstoneandrew) June 18, 2017
Good stuff! Lit crit needs to get used to the idea that NOT all analysis takes the form of "reading" (close, distant, OR surface). — Bill Benzon (@bbenzon) June 18, 2017
Cf Structuralist Poetics (1975) where Culler proposed poetics as a central activity, one NOT oriented toward meaning. /1 — Bill Benzon (@bbenzon) June 18, 2017
Alas, Culler himself turned away from poetics and the profession, for the most part, did as well. /2 — Bill Benzon (@bbenzon) June 18, 2017
To be sure, there's narratology, a poetics of narrative. But that's a small niche specialty, more European than American. /3 — Bill Benzon (@bbenzon) June 18, 2017
Will the lit crit Borg collective be able to defang and assimilate computational crit to the church of meaning? /4 — Bill Benzon (@bbenzon) June 18, 2017
Or will computational criticism provide a context in which forms of close textual analysis can flourish without pretending to be reading? /5 — Bill Benzon (@bbenzon) June 18, 2017
Will computational criticism allow surface "reading" and description to become the POETICS that had been abandoned in the mid-1970s? /6 — Bill Benzon (@bbenzon) June 18, 2017

See this piece from 3 Quarks Daily (5 may 2014), The Only Game in Town: Digital Criticism Comes of Age.

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