This chapter presents a first example of how the macroanalytic approach brings new knowledge to our understanding of literary history. It also begins the larger discussion of influence that forms a unifying thread in this book. The evidence presented here is primarily quantitative; it was gathered from a large literary bibliography using ad hoc computational tools. The chapter first takes a look at searchable bibliographies containing a wealth of information in the form of metadata and how, in the absence of full text, this bibliographical metadata can reveal useful information about literary trends. It then describes the author's project involving a bibliographic database of Irish American literature spanning 250 years. It also explains the results of the metadata analysis conducted by the author in relation to Charles Fanning's arguments and especially with respect to trends in literary productivity. The chapter concludes by highlighting the potential for analysis of impact of geography on literary style.
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