4 de marzo. 16:30 horas.

Prof. Michaela Mahlberg. «Digital humanities and the corpus linguistic study of fiction«.



Michaela Mahlberg (University of Birmingham)

Digital humanities and the corpus linguistic study of fiction 

There is increasing interest in the corpus linguistic study of fictional texts – sometimes referred to under the umbrella term ‘corpus stylistics’ (Semino and Short 2004, McIntyre and Walker 2019). At the same time, the computer-assisted study of fiction is a core area of the digital humanities more widely. In this session, I will look at corpus approaches that aim to account for properties of literary texts. I will present a number of examples to illustrate fundamental corpus methods, as well as key functionalities of the web application CLiC (Mahlberg et al. 2020). CLiC has been specifically designed for the corpus linguistic study of narrative fiction. The case studies will look at textual patterns that contribute to the creation of fictional worlds and the characters therein. The examples will be drawn from the CLiC corpora. The CLiC corpora contain 154 texts and over 16 million words across five subcorpora: the corpus of Dickens’s Novels, the 19th Century Reference Corpus (19C), the Corpus of 19th Century Children’s Literature (ChiLit), the Corpus of Additional Requested Texts (ArTs), and the African American Writers corpus (AAW). For all CLiC texts, direct speech and specific places around speech have been marked up (Mahlberg et al. 2021). Hence, CLiC can run searches across defined textual subsets and support the analysis of features of narrative fiction. An important question is how a range of features and patterns in fiction can be brought together in a coherent theoretical framework. My suggestions towards such a framework raise some fundamental questions about how far corpus linguistics can change our theoretical perspective on fiction and connects with broader concerns in the digital humanities.