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Andrew U. Frank

Andrew U. Frank

em.o.Univ.Prof. Dr. sc.techn. Dr. h.c. Dipl.Ing.

Andrew U. Frank

Computational Comparative Literature CCL

Define the topic (pdf)



The suggestion to apply digital methods to comparative literature studies pointed out that it were not sufficient to

The first mention of the term was by Ch. Ivanovic and A.U. Frank [warsaw2015] and set it appart from other fields in Digital Humanities (e.g. text annotation for editorial work TEI). In [corpusbase2005] a systematic investigation and analytical (statistical) comparison of many texts in a corpus where fixed analytical tools can be applied automatically.

Comparative Literature

The first sentence of the wikipedia entry Comparative literature says:

Comparative literature is an academic field dealing with the study of literature and cultural expression across linguistic, national, and disciplinary boundaries.

It captures the essence of the discipline as a "intercultural and transnational" effort to compare different text, predominantly literary text, but using a broad definition of "literary text" and include often text from historic records, political, philosophical and scientific text. There is a tension between nation (language) oriented approaches and approaches which are more international ("Weltliteratur", world literature) across language differences (but typically restricted to the language the researcher can read himself, which explains the predominance of studies on english, german, french, spanish literature and the absence of, for example, studies including African languages.

Computational science

A field of scientific studies, which "uses advanced computing capabilities to understand and solve complex problems"[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_science] and at its core "involves the development of models and simulations to understand [..] systems". Originally the focus was mostly on systems from the natural sciences (physics and animal populations as early prominent examples), but is now generalized and applied to social systems as well (e.g. the Limits to growth included a simulation). "Joshua M. Epstein and Robert Axtell developed the first large scale agent model, the Sugarscape, to simulate and explore the role of social phenomena such as seasonal migrations, pollution, sexual reproduction, combat, transmission of disease, and even culture"[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_simulation]. The text restarted the debate of1969 after the publication of J.W. Forrester's book "Urban Dynamics", whether social systems can be simulated (a debate which can be put to rest after the success of Cambridge Analytics in intentionally influencing election results).

What is Computational Comparative Literature (CCL)

CCL is part of [Digital Humanities[(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_humanities) but has its focus on literature studies and apply the opportunities of digital processing to comparison. As a distant goal

the computerized analysis of corpora of texts in many languages

will finally overcome the limitations of comparative studies to the few languages a researcher can master; the goal points to the importance of identifying the object of studies as a --- for the research project -- fixed corpus of literary work to be studied.

Corpus based

The application of IT to literary texts gives the possibility to include more texts in a study (e.g. Moretti [] included all known English novels of the 19th century in a study []) and to analyse them systematically. Results can be -- good scientific practice -- verified by others, using the same corpus and the same analytical operations (unlike current interpretative results which depend on the scientist, his experience and cannot reliably be repeated). A corpus based study can not only observe what is present in a literary text but can identify what is not present; the observation that "railway" is not mentioned in the text corpus of Google before XXX is trivial but observing which words from the national-socialist German vocabulary survives or does not survive after the end of WWII leads sheds likely an interesting light on German literature after WWII.

Systematic standardized analysis




Corpus-based Research in the Humanities CRH (2019 Vienna A, 2015 Warsaw PL, under the name of "Annotation of Corpora for Research in the Humanities" (ACRH), 2012 Sofia RO, Lisbon P, 2012 Heidelberg D)[^] [^1] Proceedings of the Workshop on Corpus-Based Research in the Humanities (CRH) 10 December 2015 Warsaw, Poland

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