I know it’s not necessarily my turn to post, but I have too many feelings about Macroanalysis to keep quiet.
While reading, I could not help but think of the beloved, fictional teacher, John Keating. As I read Matthew Jockers argument for digitized macroanalysis of literature, I couldn’t help but think of the algorithm for poetry found in the textbooks in Keating’s classroom in Dead Poet’s Society. To paraphrase, Keating tells students there’s no way to measure the importance of poetry–its connection with human emotion– with any algorithm, and instructs students to rip out pages of their textbooks that teach them how to attempt to do so.
While I really appreciated the idea of digital macroanalysis as a means to begin close reading, I couldn’t separate my abstract, theoretical, love of close reading and literary analysis from what seemed to be the very scientific, absolute, and rigid practice of digital macroanalysis. Reading, even in literary analysis, is a deeply personal pursuit. I do not believe the humanities, particularly literature, are meant to be approached through such rigid analysis of meta data, even if it is used in conjunction with “typical” or “traditional” close reading and analysis methods. Instead, by applying this digital means of analyzing the metadata, I think it removes the human aspect of literary study.
What do you all think?