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Humanist Archives: Jan. 2, 2019, 8:52 a.m. Humanist 32.299 - toward a theory of the corpus

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 299.
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    [1]    From: Francois Lachance 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.296: toward a theory of the corpus (35)

    [2]    From: Jim Rovira 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.296: toward a theory of the corpus (98)

        Date: 2019-01-01 22:28:06+00:00
        From: Francois Lachance 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.296: toward a theory of the corpus


I'm intrigued by the set of contrast your recent message to Humanist lays

>         Date: 2018-12-31 21:00:21+00:00
>         From: Bill Benzon 
>         Subject: Toward a Theory of the Corpus

> 3. Why computational critics need to know about constitutive computational
> semantics -- Simple, you need to know the lay of the land. That can be
> expressed in four contrasts:

1) close reading vs. distant reading,

2) meaning vs. semantics,

3) statistical semantics vs. computational semantics, and

4) corpus as tool vs. corpus as object.

My question: how are these pairs linked? Are they a simple listing without
any relays between the elements of one pair and the elements of another?
Or are there relationships e.g. close reading plugged into corpus as
object? In short do these sets of contrasts represent a stabile
representation or are they modelling a mobile set of relations?

Francois Lachance

        Date: 2019-01-01 14:23:40+00:00
        From: Jim Rovira 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.296: toward a theory of the corpus

This looks like a fascinating collection, Bill. My initial thoughts...

1. Some comparisons:

a. Sounds like Husserlian phenomenology in some ways. Husserl eventually
became focused on geometry because it allowed him, he believed, to map
mental objects in a way as divorced from "meaning" as possible -- a
shortcut to the phenomenological reduction. Husserl's short essay "On the
Origin of Geometry" is in an appendix on p. 155 of this file:

b. Sounds similar to what I.A. Richards was attempting to do in (I think) The
Principles of Literary Criticism in 1924. Of course, he was working with
1920s' neuroscience and didn't have computers.

c. Sounds similar to some Kabbalah too, only they were after the mind of
God. Ever see the movie Pi?

3. Do you mean "brain" or "mind"? Do you think that mind even exists? If
you really mean brain, then shouldn't this work be done in collaboration
with brain scans taken while reading?

4. Can you really talk about -the- mind? The mind of the reader or the mind
of the author? The mind of the author after the work has been written or
while composing? Are any two readers' minds necessarily going to produce
the same map?

5. What I like about it is that it recognizes it's doing work different
from literary studies while not being as committed to invective about it. I
really enjoyed the comparison between salt and NaCL. I still dislike
reading generalities about "literary studies," however, because they seem
careless. The field is too diverse.

6. I suspect you deal with this question within the volume, but can't it be
said that you're interested in generating a different kind of meaning?
Isn't a map (so to speak) a sort of meaning, or a step on the way to a
different sort of meaning? At some point, doesn't every activity leads to
reading some product and making meaning out of it? That is where the payoff
of all of our studies lie. That is where comprehension of the object is
formed. If you defer this process from one set of inert symbols to another
you start to sound Derridean.

7. Aren't you trying to reconstruct what the mind is doing *while it is
making meaning*? So couldn't different minds produce different maps based
on meaning making from the same set of inert graphic objects? So after
asking if we can really talk about -the- mind, can we really talk about
-the- map created in it?

8. Isn't the corpus that matters for your study the corpus in the reading
mind rather than the corpus in the digital files? So every pattern
generating activity is dealing with two corpora: the digital one and the
mental one.

Jim R

Dr. James Rovira 
Bright Futures Educational Consulting

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