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MacroanalysisDigital Methods and Literary History$
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Matthew L. Jockers

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037528

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037528.001.0001

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(p.5) 2 Evidence

Matthew L. Jockers

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses new approaches and new methodologies in literary evidence gathering. Science derives conclusions based on evidence, and ideally, is open to new methodologies. Furthermore, science attempts to be exhaustive in the gathering of evidence as much as possible and must therefore welcome new modes of exploration, discovery, and analysis. This chapter emphasizes literary criticism's heavy reliance on associations as evidence and explains how literary studies differs from scientific experimentation. It also considers the advantages of “close reading,” the primary methodology used in the study of literature, and proceeds by looking at the ways that big data—the equivalent to digital libraries in literary studies—is changing the way data sampling is being undertaken. Finally, it describes how new methods of analysis allow us to extract new forms of evidence from the digital library.

Keywords:   literary evidence, science, literary criticism, literary studies, scientific experimentation, close reading, big data, digital libraries, data sampling

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