Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: July 13, 2022, 8:06 a.m. Humanist 36.102 - scale, again

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 102.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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        Date: 2022-07-13 06:54:32+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty <>
        Subject: scale, again

Lest Alan Liu's helpful reference to Zach Horton's very interesting
book, The Cosmic Zoom, end the discussion of scale, allow me to ask
again, or further, what's going on with scale in digital studies of
texts, or populations, or pretty much anything. Take texts, for example.
Is it not the case that both Moretti's "distant reading" and the much
earlier "close reading" of literary criticism suggest getting to the
truth of the matter, or at least doing much better than foggy notions,
say of genre or the meaning of an individual work of literary art,
formed by the unaided reader? Do mechanisms affording or merely urging
on macro- or microscopic views tell us what is really going on or open
up other dimensions of reality? Without these mechanisms, are these
other dimensions merely inaccessible or are they non-existent?

Perhaps, given NASA's photographs, we should be asking (with reference
to Horton) about how these visions of the new, or newly seen, are
generated, or as we have learned to say, mediated. Photographers know all 
about the creative element of their imaging processes, within the camera 
and in the workflow that follows, nowadays in software, formerly in the 
darkroom. I think now, in the opposite mode, of Antonioni's Blow Up 


Willard McCarty,
Professor emeritus, King's College London;
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews;  Humanist

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