Computers and the Humanities

, Volume 27, Issue 5–6, pp 365–374 | Cite as

An argument for single-author and similar studies using quantitative methods: Is there safety in numbers?

  • Joel D. Goldfield


Lack of a critical mass of scholars involved with the computer-assisted analysis of texts (CAAT), coupled with insufficient communication among various sectors of the literary and linguistic disciplines, has led to a skewed notion of computing humanists' work among their colleagues. This paper highlights the gap through examples of misunderstood humanist needs and achievements drawn from both recent media reports and humanities conferences. It suggests that networking and less modesty in manuscript submission can be at least partial solutions. The author cites some of his own published work and work-in-progress on Stendhal and Gobineau in refuting Mark Olsen's thesis that the dominance of single- or dual-author studies must be the cause of CAAT's “failure” to make significant inroads in mainstream literary journals. The author builds a case for the use of both diachronic and synchronic lexico-statistical data in carrying out such studies successfully. He recommends a new “Synthetic Criticism” where relevant quantitative methods would not be absent.

Key Words

quantitative studies textual analysis ARTFL Gobineau themes Stendhal André Gide literary criticism text encoding quantitative methods reception studies Riffaterre 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel D. Goldfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Foreign LanguagesPlymouth State CollegePlymouthUSA

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