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Off Line

by David Barber

Editorial from The Journal of English Studies:
According to Dr Williams, the emerging field of computational literary analysis (CLA) is a heady mix of Baysian semiotic theory, digital analysis and ontological linguistics; the whole enterprise hosted on neural networks that speedily develop their own epistemology...

His seminal paper (this volume, p. 123) co-authored with a team from MIT, claims to finally put literary theory on an objective footing. Though this editor has doubts, he lacks the expertise to articulate them. If Williams et al. are correct, then prepare for the biggest intellectual revolution in the humanities since the Enlightenment...

Feature Articles, Victorian Quarterly, vol. 28:
New study shows War & Peace 43% too long. Mrs Gaskell “not very good” says breakthrough CLA analysis. Academics sign open letter: CLA “a mockery.”

New English Magazine:
It’s true, modern rhymesters are inferior. CLA carried out by a LitComp team on fifteen poets writing today compared to a control group of dead poets showed they were worser in quality. Moderns scored particularly low on style and grammarising.

OnLine: Intertextual Narratives:
Nobel Prize in Literature winners are only 8% better than all published contemporaries. Who was Henrik Pontoppidan, (Nobel Prize, 1917)? Weighted averages of contemporaries still in print indicate Nobel Prize winners are significantly worse (95% confidence limits), recent CLA shows.

Abstracts, CLA Letters:
CLA shows Marxist interpretation of Swift has zero semantic content.

Oxford Deep Blue CLA confirms Austen is best chicklit author.
Independent CLA autojudge rejects all this year’s Booker Prize entries.

Shakespeare Survey, vol. 66:
Two-year CLA metastudy of Shakespeare bibliography establishes ongoing lack of novelty. “The Bard industry has become automated,” admitted Williams. “There are whole papers about single words and single words about whole plays thanks to CLA techniques.” No further submissions accepted by this journal.

Comp. Lit. Data Studies:
Autonomic LitCrit: CLA paper writing freed from human authorship increases productivity exponentially, calculates Litbot 3000 in the first of 1024 online CLA papers.

C+ Lit. Journal Version 2.0:
Meta-analysis of 1.3 x 107 online CLA papers shows zero hits.

using namespace std;
    count <<"literary criticism\n";

Wat the Editer Thinks, New Sealand Gide To Books, 2135, Number 1:
Nerely 100 new books got printed last yere in South Iland alone, over harf of them made up storys. I say reeding is doubleplusgood and this gide will let you now the best (and wurst!) of the new books. But dont forget about old books sure they are hard to reed but well wurth it. I will rite a bit about an old book every time in the New sealand Gide to Books. Look out for it...


Lieberman et al., Culturomics, Nature 474 (2011), 436-440

Software Reveals the Most Influential Victorian Novelists, New Scientist, August 16, 2012

Copyright © 2012 by David Barber

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