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brief reflections on Theory Thursday: Despite all their flaws with definitions, I do really like Moretti's idea that his graphs reveal problems, not solutions (implying that these problems weren't so legible without vast quantities of data/"distant reading"). How could we turn this around and try and use close reading to ask a question we can't answer?

Here is the link to my project proposal! There's a bit of my own thinking out loud so it's rather long.

Questions I want to ask with my project

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How do texts link femininity and privacy? Where do ideas of privacy emerge? (Narrative voice, paratexts?)There seems to be some hefty scholarship on ideas of time in epistolary novels, and the impossibility of representing something exactly when it is happening - how does this temporal lag manifest itself in the notions of private correspondence that these novels engage with?

Strengths & weaknesses

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What would one want a list of the characters or names in a novel for? (Where is the difference between characters and names? Perhaps using this tool illuminates the ways in which we conflate the two, rendering nonfictional people mentioned in the text as characters, blurring the line between fact and fiction.) If the purpose of gathering a list of names is to spot broad patterns (e.g. most of the names are female) then this tool is certainly useful. It's also useful in its mistakes: the variance within the category "Organization" makes me question what, exactly, an organization is, and what it might be doing in a novel. After our quick excursion into NER, I think I would use it more to destabilize my assumptions about names and characters than to confirm them.

qus & thoughts

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We were wondering: do you think it was a kind of proto-feminist gender nationalism that led Gifford to buy books largely by women? Was it because of the genre of these books (very gendered novels)? In what ways do these motivations overlap? To what degree were those books read by women (i.e. almost exclusively? or not?)

Also: impressed w/ Charlotte's use of wordpress - more than just a platform, but a medium that furthers the scholarship

the link I was talking about. An excerpt: "But if you follow the thread of McCracken’s “despites” and “impossibilities” and “buts,” you start to get caught on the knots in which Alexie has caught himself, the need to strive for perfection and select for merit, even as the process makes achieving it impossible."