Plotting Poetry (and Poetics) 3.
26-27 September 2019, ATILF, Nancy.
Jan Christoph Meister (Universität Hamburg), confirmed
Anne Bandry Scubbi (Université de Strasbourg), to be confirmed
Call for Papers:
This annual international conference gathers literary scholars of all language areas sharing a keenness for the development of computational and statistical apparatuses to describe and analyse metre, style and poeticity. For its third edition, “Plotting Poetry” will focus on questions of poetics, and papers can bear on any literary genre (poetry, theatre, novel, even essay).
In 1917, commenting on the rise of new media, Apollinaire urged for “plotting/mechanising (“machiner”) poetry as has been done for the world”. A century later, the slogan’s rich metaphor is made all the sharper with the new technologies’ emergence in literary studies. What role have machines and resulting software devices taken up in text reading? What do they teach us about poetics? What mechanical and strategic devices are we developing, with what results?
To apply mechanical processes to the reading of texts is to raise the issues of poetics and stylistic singularity. Are they to be found in the measurable sum of artfully assembled and arranged processes, or do they actually escape normalisation efforts? Reading machines, by allowing a distant vision, measure phenomena that a natural reading would not detect, thus questioning the role of such hidden features in our (often unconscious) perception as readers. Jacobson’s « poetic function » has objective linguistic features at its centre, but can its efficiency be reduced to that of a machine, with levers and pulleys we can take apart?
Participants are expected to present feedback – positive or not – on the computational and statistical tools they develop to address issues of poetics, metrics and stylistics, and to shed light on the fields of literature, linguistics or literary history. Devices that did not yield the expected results, provided their shortcomings provide an interesting and genuine insight, are utterly welcome as well. In the vast field of Digital Humanities, understanding our failures can prove most useful, particularly to pinpoint where the human/machine complementarity ends, or to measure the ratio of invested time over achieved result.
Possible exploration themes, geared towards an interpretation of texts and styles, could include, but are in no way limited to:
- History of reading machines, and socio-historical perspectives;
- metrical analysis;
- topic modelling;
- computational stylistics;
- mechanically enhanced reading for literary genre characterization;
- blending “distant reading” and close reading;
- new technologies as tools for interpretation; digital hermeneutics.
We welcome abstracts for papers about poetic texts, versified or not, or even texts outside the poetry genre provided that « machines » are being used to explore their poeticity. Papers of 20-25 minutes may bear on corpora from any time and in any language, but shall be delivered in English or French.