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Neohelicon

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 65–81 | Cite as

GIS and telescopic reading: between spatial and digital humanities

  • Enrique Santos UnamunoEmail author
Article
  • 430 Downloads

Abstract

This paper begins with the so-called spatial turn and goes on to examine one of its most recent offshoots: the cartographic turn. After analysing the implications that this turn, particularly its digital aspect, may have on a possible mappability of literature and on the definition of an emerging field like spatial humanities, the paper will discuss the broad disciplinary spectrum of digital humanities and its possible convergences with this cartographic and spatialising trend through the changes experienced by the contemporary textual condition (from the large-scale digitation of texts to the spread of multimedia). The paper also explores the split between an eminently quantitative approach and a qualitative one, within both digital and spatial humanities, when tackling the study of texts, whether they be literary or otherwise. This duality leads to the current debate between defenders and detractors of what Franco Moretti dubbed distant reading, a critical practice that opposes the traditional method of close reading. As the paper attempts to argue, that distant perspective is closely linked to the cartographic turn and does not necessarily involve using exclusively quantitative tools and giving up close reading as a means of accessing texts. In this sense, through the underlying concept of some literary GIS and of the emerging notion of deep or thick mapping, the paper argues for the possibility of a telescopic reading which, as part of the approaches and interests of spatial and digital humanities, combines quantitative and qualitative methods and makes a distant focus (that is, cartographic) compatible with a close reading of texts.

Keywords

Literature Spatial turn GIS Digital humanities Telescopic reading 

Notes

Funding

This study was undertaken as part of the research project “The projection of place: Compostela in its Geoliterary Imaginary (1844-1926). Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Humanities” (Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness; FFI2013-41361-P), directed by Fernando Cabo Aseguinolaza and taking place between 2014 and 2017.

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de LetrasUniversidad de ExtremaduraCáceresSpain

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