Date of Award

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

English

Committee Member

Gabriel Hankins, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Cameron Bushnell

Committee Member

Megan Eatman

Abstract

This project begins with an investigation of a case study in literary analysis that attempts to bring together close and distant reading techniques to enhance the output of both methods. The investigation reveals not only a breakdown in the attempted corroboration of truth claims and evidence across methods, but a tension felt more broadly in the discourse surrounding distant reading as a methodological and disciplinary position. In response to this problematic, I access C.S. Peirce and John Dewey to construct an argument for a pragmatic model for mediating between the more traditional methods employed in literary studies and the computational tools explored and used by scholars of distant methods. This discussion is foregrounded in the hermeneutic response of Julie Orlemanski to the discursive gap between methods. Taking the notion of scales of reading as a starting point, the pragmatic approach offers to place the output of close and distant methods within Dewey's pattern of inquiry and accounts for the potential disciplinary conflict with Peirce's logic of abduction. The former stands as a metaphorical interlocutor between computational models and the more heuristic approaches often found in literary analysis while the latter is placed into conversation with Ariana Ciula and Cristina Marras's "Circling Around Texts and Language: Towards Pragmatic Modelling" to reveal that pragmatism contains a viable set of analytical tools for creating and interpreting evidence in literary studies using digital methods. I conclude by looking towards applying the pragmatic tools used to analyze this case study to a larger discussion of the discursive unease unearthed in the examination of the scholarship of digital method.

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