Sep 14 2011

Digital Humanities

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The use of “Digital Humanities” is in question every day, whether it is by efficiency or necessity. Now, the wonder is whether digital humanities technologies help with interpretation of literature; do the artistic works help or hinder the work of authors who decide to use this concept. For this particular use, I have no blatant opinion of whether it is heaven sent or a spawn of the devil. None of those aspects are my perspective, but if I had to choose a singular representation for digital humanities, my belief is that it is helpful to an extent, but troublesome in the long run.

Wordle: Daisy Miller

There are many strengths of digital humanities technology, visual effects are a positive influence in teaching people the joys of literature. In this way, younger generations can see the most important aspects of literature in a different and find an interest within the technologies even without proper understanding of it in the beginning. Readers will enjoy a new perspective of the writing that was unavailable to them previously, along with the resources to be able to obtain information in a much quicker fashion than usual. By using a “wordle,” the author can choose to make specific words have more significance than other words, and that leads for a visual impact on the reader. The wordle itself becomes a story that tells another story, it is a deliberate attempt to draw someone in to obtain their interest in the story or idea that has been presented to them.

Unfortunately, the cons of this is also influential in that although people may appreciate artwork of the writing, they may also lose focus of the original story and the authors intentions in writing the story. In the wordle, the author may have the best intentions, but he may also be forcing his own interpretation of the story in his words opposed to the original authors. By adjusting the words in size and format to relay information and individuality, digital humanities technology allows for change and individual representation opposed to individual interpretation. While interpretation is still readily available, the original idea may be  ‘lost in translation’ and the confusion may be more apparent.

An Ngram viewer allows for a reader to search within the system of books specific genres that occurred at the time. This allows for a very broad and general idea of what was written in a set period. It is helpful for the understanding of varying genres and perspectives.

Unfortunately, this does not prelude the exempts of books that are not significant as it only involves all books. Which can be very misleading when using a search engine, as you may end up with numbers in low percentages. This also does not help when faced with things that were not written at the time period. Traveling to different countries was within the book of “Daisy Miller” but it may have been subjective and a “flirt” such as Daisy Miller may have not been the most influential and distinguished portrayal of character at the time. Another presenting arguement is that language changes with time, and the people change with the language.

The strengths of digital humanities technology is that it is readily available and easy to access for many people. The disadvantages of this technology is that not everyone can understand the logistics of using digital humanities technology. A person borne of this century may be able to compile several wonderful arguments in which technology is appropriate, but another borne in a prior century may believe this to be witchcraft and the work of the devil. People can always find fault and they curse what they do not understand; many people may not be able to use a computer, let alone a program that this technology allows for.

In some things, it is to my belief that the original authors write things that contains beauty that readers can never fully appreciate without the experience of the past. With the incorporation of the future, our generation lose focus of the teaching of the past; and then begin to believe that what is written in the future represents the past. In this aspect, history is taught but never understood; to which literature then becomes a concept and not reality that people can only accept. Because of these ideals, I come to the conclusion that digital humanities technology may not be the best way to interpret literature.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Digital Humanities”

  1.   mchanon 05 Oct 2011 at 2:19 pm

    That’s an awesome set up for your wordle! Is Daisy Winterbourne a character?

  2.   APMimzon 05 Oct 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Daisy and Winterbourne are characters that are interested in each other, so is Giovanelli. They’re all close and almost touching each other because of the significance of their characters together, but at the same time set apart.

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