Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 331.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 08:37:42 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: unexpected results
From time to time when I am looking on the Web for the source of a
specific sequence of words, I notice in passing, especially when I am
unsuccessful, that the misses are actually quite interesting. This leads me
to ask if anyone has followed the deviating paths which these misses suggest.
I invite you to try the following experiment. Use www.google.com to search
for this sequence of words (without the quotation marks): "mind true things
by what their mockeries be". Is there a name for the set of things such an
operation turns up? An internet intertext? internetext? an echo of the
totality of verbal meaning?
In my example, it's interesting to look at what causes so many religious
texts to surface -- I note St Augustine's City of God and his Confessions,
an Amerindian spiritual account, a treatise on theosophy, a passage from
Sirach, several personal meditations and so on. It begins to look like
whatever this participial phrase means in its original context --
Shakespeare's Henry V -- intertextually it has a strong religious undertone.
Again my question is, has anyone carried such experiments further? If so,
are there rewards sufficient for the effort?
Dr Willard McCarty / Senior Lecturer /
Centre for Computing in the Humanities / King's College London /
Strand / London WC2R 2LS / U.K. /
+44 (0)20 7848-2784 / ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/
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