Invited Talk

Characterization

Speaker: Andrew Piper

Abstract: Characters are some of the most important, and most beloved, elements of literature. From Ishmael to Mrs. Dalloway to Gregor Samsa, literary characters are woven into the fabric of culture. And yet until recently, little work has been done to understand the specific nature of characters as linguistic entities. This talk will introduce new work by our lab that aims to address this process of characterization – of how writers construct animate entities on the page. It will present a new character feature tool designed to allow researchers to study a variety of qualities surrounding the construction of character as well as a new study where it has been implemented.

About the Speaker: Andrew Piper is Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. His work explores the application of computational approaches to the study of literature and culture. He is the director of .txtLAB, a digital humanities laboratory at McGill, as well as leader of the international partnership grant, “NovelTM: Text Mining the Novel”, which brings together 21 partners across North America to undertake the first large-scale quantitative and cross-cultural study of the novel. He is the author most recently of Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times (Chicago 2012) and is currently completing a new book entitled Enumerations: The Quantities of Literature.

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