A Brief Introduction for NovelTM- Text Mining the Novel

The NovelTM project is a cross-cultural, interdisciplinary partnership of leading universities and scholars that is dedicated to answering questions about novel via quantitative methods. The humanities have traditionally had to, for pragmatic reasons, narrow its scope in terms of what can be reliably researched, discussed, and taught. NovelTM hopes to address the gap that has formed in the process, by approaching the great massive unread to determine the novel's (and its genres, modes, and other characteristics) place in society.

NovelTM is composed of several leading names in literary history and text mining, including Andrew Piper (PI), Ted Underwood, Matthew Jockers, and Laura Mandell. Also included in the partnership are notable institutions, such as Compute Canada, Gale Digital Collections, and HathiTrust Research Center.

Over the next six years, collaborators will spend time researching characteristics of the novel, including genre, plot, character, narrative, etc. This year's theme will be on genre, which encapsulates such questions as: can we differentiate between tragedies and comedies in a corpus? How can we determine the fictionality of a text at a distance? What can we learn about a novel's characters and genre? And what do scholars see in genre anyways?

Also in the works are other ambitious projects in conjunction with the research goals: a book series, a methods commons, yearly workshops, and training for new scholars and students in new digital and computational methods for humanities research.

If you are interested in learning more about NovelTM, please visit the website (http://novel-tm.ca/) and feel free to browse through the people, institutions, and latest news detailed there.

If you are going to MLA in Vancouver this year, you may also check out panels featuring NovelTM partners Matthew Wilkinson, Jonathan Armoza, and Laura Mandell. Information for that may be found here.

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