Thursday, March 17, 2011

Third time's the charm!

Mark March 31, 2011 on your calendar!  Professor Michael Witmore from the Department of English here at UW will be giving a lecture, titled "Data-Mining Early English Dramatic Texts from the Text Creation Partnership," from 4:00 to 5:00PM in the SLIS Commons.  This lecture is sponsored the by Center for the History of Print Culture.
In this talk, Professor Witmore will discuss his work on digitized versions of early modern printed texts using multivariate statistics and a text-analysis tool called Docuscope.  His presentation will focus on the following question:  what can we learn from data-mining large numbers of early modern texts that we couldn’t learn by simply reading a representative sample of them?  Witmore is organizer of the Working Group for Digital Inquiry, a research collective that is mapping the prose genres of Early English Books online using techniques from bioinformatics and corpus linguistics. Results of this research can be found on his website,, and an online edition of Shakespeare Quarterly: ShakespeareQuarterly_NewMedia/hope-witmore-the-hundredth-psalm/.  In this research, he is interested in the ways in which literary critical terms such as genre—which we apply to texts on the basis of plot, character and action—are visible linguistically at the level of the sentence. When working in this area, he collaborates with Jonathan Hope, Robin Valenza, Franco Moretti, and Susan Bernstein.

Professor Witmore also is the author of Culture of Accidents: Unexpected Knowledges in Early Modern England (Stanford, 2001), which was co-winner of the Perkins Prize for the Study of Narrative in 2003 and, more recently, Shakespearean Metaphysics (Continuum 2008) and Pretty Creatures: Children and Fiction in the English Renaissance (Cornell, 2007).  In addition to serving as textual editor for the Comedy of Errors with the new Norton Shakespeare, he has just completed a collaborative study of Shakespearean scenes, characters and objects with the photographer Rosamond Purcell, to be published in fall of 2010 under the title, Landscapes of the Passing Strange: Reflections From Shakespeare.  He also co-edited, with Andreea Immel, of Childhood and Children's Books in Early Modern Europe, 1550-1800 (Routledge, 2006).
We hope you can make it!

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