“Big data is coming for your books!”

Hi all,

Great posts so far!  In reference to Thursday’s upcoming debate on the questions of “distant reading,” technological reading, and whether literature is data, I offer this hot-off-the-press controversy from the L.A. Review of Books.

“BIG DATA IS COMING for your books. It’s already come for everything else. All human endeavor has by now generated its own monadic mass of data, and through these vast accumulations of ciphers the robots now endlessly scour for significance much the way cockroaches scour for nutrition in the enormous bat dung piles hiding in Bornean caves.”


And a quietly devastating response from my former colleague and friend, Scott Selisker (UC Santa Barbara):


(Needless to say, this is all merely optional; we’ll focus on the assigned readings in class!)

So what do you think: is literature data?



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About Nathan Hensley

Nathan K. Hensley is Associate Professor of English at Georgetown University; he works on nineteenth-century British literature, critical theory, and the novel.
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1 Response to “Big data is coming for your books!”

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