Lecture on Distant Reading in Literary Theory, Thursday 11 September

Viola G. Miglio, Associate Professor of Linguistics, Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), and Affiliate Associate Professor at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Iceland, will give a lecture entitled “You can't read if you can't count: New approaches to (medieval, Icelandic, etc.) literature”.

Many different approaches to literature have recently sprouted under the auspices of the digital humanities, possibly the most common buzz-phrase in contemporary Academia in the U.S. Among these, perhaps Franco Moretti's Distant Reading approach has turned most heads in wonder, approval, or disgust. Be that as it may, Moretti's quantitative methods cannot be easily dismissed, as his winning of the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for literary criticism clearly attests. In this lecture, I would like to show that even those of us who were raised as old-school philologists can find solace, use and relevance for quantitative methods in our linguistic or literary approaches to discourse (be it fictive or not). Examples will be drawn from current work on authorship attribution, as well as my work with Stefan Th. Gries on tense switches in Hrafnkel's saga.

The lecture will take place on Thursday 11 September at 12:00 in room 101 in Oddi at the University of Iceland.

Viola G. Miglio is Associate Professor of Linguistics in the Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). She heads the Iberian Linguistics graduate program, her department's Phonetics Lab and holds the Barandiaran Endowed Chair of Basque Studies at UCSB. She works on the intersection between literature and linguistics, such as discourse analysis, Romance and Germanic languages, language change, Basque studies and translation. She is honored to have been recently appointed an Affiliate Associate Professor at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Iceland (2014).

Admission is free and all are welcome.

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