PP 2207: What Matters? Key Passages in Literary Works (SP)

This explorative project deals with the identification and characterization of key passages in literary works. We understand key passages as passages that are particularly important to expert readers when interpreting texts. Why do interpreting scholars devote their attention to certain passages and neglect others? In a mixed-methods approach, we primarily want to investigate empirically which textual characteristics of literary genres can be revealed through patterns of citation and quotation. Secondly, we want to explore whether “communities of interpretation” (S. Fish) can be identified.
We will examine whether the privileged referencing in interpretations to certain passages of literary texts follows patterns and to what extent such patterns are indicators for important textual characteristics and/or interpretative attitudes. Thus, the main goal of our project is to improve text-analytical methods through interpretational expert knowledge. Therefore, existing methods for the analysis of literary texts and related scholarly articles need to be improved and new ones developed. We want to combine existing algorithms into an innovative workflow and extend existing algorithms; promote domain adaptation of text analysis tools; build corpora and text collections (including manual or semi-automated annotations to generate training data for annotation algorithms and other tools). The main challenge of our project is that references to key passages are probably determined by complex interwoven intrinsic (content and formal aspects of the text) and extrinsic factors, and that both literary and literary studies texts are predominantly a result of individual decisions.
Starting point for the creation and curation of suitable corpora will be three types of collections: literary works, bibliographic metadata, and scholarly works from literary studies. For pragmatic reasons, we are focusing on the literary genres ‘narrative’, ‘novella’, and ‘drama’ from the field of modern German literature. From a systematic perspective, we focus on the factors style, characters, plot and topics when characterising key passages. In our research, genre-historical aspects will play an important role, because we will take canonical assumptions about the composition of narrative and dramatic texts into account. Therefore, we primarily pursue literary historical and theoretical interests, and secondly scientific historical and theoretical interests.
The work is organised in three work packages that are aligned with the three literary corpora. Each work package contains technical tasks for computer scientists and literary tasks for literary scholars. The technical tasks focus on the development of methods for the extraction, enrichment and analysis of data from the corpora. The literary tasks test and develop theories from literary studies based on the harvested data. The goal of the project can be broken down into the following objectives: Key passages must be identified such that basic understanding of their properties can be acquired. Then, key passages can be characterised using the four factors style, characters, plot, and topics. Finally, the extrinsic factor of interpretative communities can be explored. The results will be consolidated into a concept of key passages in theory and practice.

Principal investigators
Martus, Steffen Prof. Dr. phil. (Details) (Modern German Literature / Literature of the 18th to the Present)
Jäschke, Robert Prof. Dr. (Details) (Information Processing and Analytics)

Participating organisational units of HU Berlin

DFG - Schwerpunktprogramme

Duration of project
Start date: 04/2020
End date: 03/2023

Research Areas
Interactive and Intelligent Systems, Image and Language Processing, Computer Graphics and Visualisation, Literary Studies, Modern German Literature

Last updated on 2022-07-09 at 17:05