Marcus - Vor aller Augen (Teil 3) (German Edition)


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Felski is not the first to raise such objections. In an essay from , Russell Berman takes a similar approach to the politics of periodization, pointing out how periodizing a work can serve to discipline it, that is to say, to deny its claim on the reader's present. For Berman, "A literary-critical culture that values historical frames over 'artistic pleasure,'. In their focus on affect, however, they neglect a crucial facet of the transtemporal resonance they seek to underscore. To limit oneself to the question of how and why literature can "solicit," "button-hole," and "stir us up" is to understate its role as both an instrument of cognition and a means of fostering particular cognitive capacities, or at least to sidestep the constitutive role of cognition in the experience of aesthetic pleasure.

The following essay is conceived as a computationally-assisted contribution to thinking about transtemporal — and transnational — categories for understanding literature, and the novel in particular. I take my cue from such scholars as Felski and Berman, but rather than emphasizing affective connections, my focus is on literature as an imaginative space for raising and working through questions about epistemology: Interest in the novel and epistemology has already given rise to distinguished scholarship on the part of scholars of both Anglo-American and German literature, the two national traditions under consideration here.

Even in those studies that take a broader approach to the topic, however, the novel often has pride of place, and for good reason. Indeed, many studies engage at precisely this structural level, uncovering subterranean epistemological relevance on the basis of finely-grained readings of individual works. In contrast, the analysis that follows begins with a wager on the productivity of a "flat" reading, one that, at least initially, directs our attention to surfaces rather than depths and corpora rather than the individual case study.

As will become clear, moreover, these same results also point us toward indicators of less conspicuous modes of epistemological inquiry. In sum, the analysis that follows is conceived as an alternative to the depth-hermeneutic methods that Stephen Best and Sharon Marcus have grouped together under the rubric of "symptomatic reading," but one that also resists the reduction of computational analysis to matters of empirical verification.

The aim, rather, is to consider whether such methods can generate new ways of thinking about how novels engage with epistemological questions and how that engagement develops over the course of the long nineteenth century. With regard to the latter question, the preliminary results raise the intriguing possibility of a reorientation in the late nineteenth century, an evolution in which overt philosophical themes are increasingly combined with more subtle epistemological narrative positionings.

The text base for the analysis consisted of four corpora in two languages. Our research team first assembled two literary corpora, one a collection of German novels published between and and the other containing English and American novels published between and These were based primarily on two pre-existing collections originally digitized by the German company Directmedia Publishing, which were then supplemented with additional works from Project Gutenberg to even out the chronological coverage. The novels included are a mix of works most would consider today to be canonical and works that are no longer read frequently but were popular around the time they were published.

To each of these we added a smaller philosophy corpus. The philosophy corpora comprised identical selections of excerpts, taken from a well-respected anthology, from twelve canonical works of epistemology in either the original language or in translation.

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In other words, the German philosophy corpus included either original German texts or previously published German translations, and the English philosophy corpus included those same texts either in their original English or in English translations. Of the twelve excerpts, five appeared originally in English, five in German, and two in French. Their original publication dates range from to Our first procedure was a variant of topic modeling that had proved illuminating in previous investigations and that involves the inclusion of a highly distinctive document in a larger, otherwise more homogenous corpus in order to "seed" the generation of topics characteristic of the added document.

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With a particular narrative perspective? Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. Initial experiments with the tagged English corpus did not generate any topics that foregrounded epistemic modality to the same degree as the German corpus. Most importantly, it seems to me that quality must become a non-negotiable aspects of daily working life, and something that spurs ambition, which leads to debates, disputes, and joy and pride in one's own performance and achievements as a team.. Corpus, Approaches, and Initial Results The text base for the analysis consisted of four corpora in two languages. Rather than relying on unsupervised classification to identify constellations of terms, we instead pre-selected a list of 30 adverbs with epistemic resonance, building on the work of specialists in the field.

After adding the epistemology document to the other novels, we topic modeled the entire collection using the Mallet toolkit, experimenting with a variety of parameters to produce the highest proportion of coherent topics as well as to maximize the participation of the epistemology document in a single topic. As the table makes clear, the epistemology document is overwhelmingly associated with topic 32 in English and topic 12 in German.

The next highest ranking topics are topic 14 4. In terms of proof of concept, it is reassuring to find a degree of semantic convergence between the epistemology topics in the two languages, including synonymous terms e.

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The algorithms simply determine which terms are most likely to co-occur in any given document as measured across a finite range of documents. One could certainly attempt to identify epistemological content by other means, using a dictionary-based approach, for example, or a most-distinctive word test compared to some random corpus. Two primary advantages of topic modeling are 1 its relational character and 2 the fact that it produces results in the form of probability distributions that are easy to sort and compare.

By topic modeling an entire corpus, we acquire a list of terms that are distinctive for the epistemology document as well as a measure of how frequently those terms occur in that document and in the various novels, and this measure can serve as a proxy for ranking the epistemological orientation of those novels. In this sense the method is similar to any dictionary-based approach.

But we also generate additional semantic fields that are constitutive of the other texts in the corpus, enabling us to take a multi-layered approach to the question of epistemology.

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As will become apparent later in the essay, these other fields can provide a basis for determining which thematic preoccupations tend to correlate with a high percentage of epistemology terms, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of historical specificity. Once we had established an epistemology topic for each corpus, we were then able to return to the novels, and, based on the percentage participation of any given novel in topic 12 or 32, generate lists of the top-ranking "epistemological" novels in each national tradition.

The top 20 novels from each corpus are listed in Table 2. The thresholds for the top quartiles in the English and German corpora are 2. As the word lists in Table 1 demonstrate, the semantic fields generated by the topic modeling algorithms often - though by no means always - feature nouns, with the consequence that topic modeling proves particularly effective at identifying overt thematic content. In order to gain a sense of just how effective, we can turn from the novels taken as a whole to the word chunks that served as the basis for the analysis.

The following brief excerpts from high-ranking passages in the English-language corpus provide examples of one of the more frequently occurring modes of epistemological engagement in the novels: Words belonging to topic 32 have been highlighted. The difference between reason and revelation seems to be the same as between the eye and the light ; the one is the organ of vision, the other the source of illumination. Tyrrel, "that if I can help it, I'll never attend your accomplished clergyman. Stanley, smiling ; "besides what we call book learning, there is another species of knowledge in which some truly good men are sadly deficient: I mean an acquaintance with human nature.

The knowledge of the world, and of him who made it; the study of the heart of man, and of him who has the hearts of all men in his hand, enable a minister to excel in the art of instruction; one kind of knowledge reflecting light upon the other. Good and evil exist only as they are perceived. I cannot therefore understand , how that which a man perceives to be good can be in reality an evil to him: The views of such a man I contend are false.

If he could be made to see the truth — — Mr Jenkison. He sees his own truth. Truth is that which a man troweth. Where there is no man there is no truth. Thus the truth of one is not the truth of another. I am aware of the etymology; but I contend that there is an universal and immutable truth , deducible from the nature of things.

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With unreason the case is different. She is the natural complement of reason , without whose existence reason itself were nonexistent. If, then, reason would be non-existent were there no such thing as unreason, surely it follows that the more unreason there is, the more reason there must be also? Hence the necessity for the development of unreason, even in the interests of reason herself. For, look at it in one way, all actions men put a bit of thought into are ideas - say, sowing seed, or making a canoe, or baking clay; and such ideas as these work themselves into life and go on growing with it, but they can't go apart from the material that set them to work and makes a medium for them.

It's the nature of wood and stone yielding to the knife that raises the idea of shaping them, and with plenty of wood and stone the shaping will go on. I look at it, that such ideas as are mixed straight away with all the other elements of life are powerful along with 'em. The slower the mixing, the less power they have. But for anything deeper, I am not certain whether to know the world and to know human nature be not two distinct branches of knowledge , which while they may coexist in the same heart, yet either may exist with little or nothing of the other.

Nay , in an average man of the world, his constant rubbing with it blunts that fine spiritual insight indispensable to the understanding of the essential in certain exceptional characters, whether evil ones or good. Look at that basket, he said. The first phase of apprehension is a bounding line drawn about the object to be apprehended. An aesthetic image is presented to us either in space or in time. What is audible is presented in time , what is visible is presented in space. But, temporal or spatial, the aesthetic image is first luminously apprehended as selfbounded and selfcontained upon the immeasurable background of space or time which is not it.

You apprehended it as ONE thing. You see it as one whole. You apprehend its wholeness. Read against the backdrop of more structural approaches to the epistemological engagements of the novel, these passages remind us that novels also regularly address epistemological questions head on and in some detail.

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It is no doubt true, as John Bender argues, that the " implicit ambitions of the new novel" [my italics] in the eighteenth century positioned the genre within the same discursive network as the experimental practices of the natural sciences. It is equally true, however, that the novel frequently participates in debates "about method and the nature of knowledge" at the level of explicit content, often through dialogue, and that this level is arguably as significant as any other in terms of the cultural work done by the genre. As revealing as these passage are, however, they also raise the question of what the topic models are missing.

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With regard to Billy Budd , for example, even though the algorithm correctly identifies the epistemological orientation of the passage, it fails to classify number of terms e. Moreover, the passage demonstrates how epistemological relevance can find expression in linguistic features less conspicuous than an explicitly philosophical vocabulary. In the case of the Billy Budd excerpt, the epistemological moment is strengthened by a particular narrative perspective. More precisely, the narrator not only discusses branches of human knowledge; he also adopts a stance toward the certainty of his own knowledge of that knowledge, through such terms as "assuredly" and phrases as "I am not certain.

In other words, they involve questions of modality, a category of meaning that has recently been the subject of extensive analysis on the part of the linguists and philosophers of language, and that pertains to words and phrases used to communicate relations of probability and necessity.

Epistemic modality is most relevant in the current context, and especially the use of epistemic modal adverbs and adjectives, which, in the words of Jan Nuyts "may be considered the 'purest' expressions for epistemic modality, in the sense that they are the most precise and specific means available for marking the degree of likelihood of a state of affairs.

Also of interest are utterances that rely on "epistemic indefinites," defined as "indefinite determiners or indefinite pronouns that signal ignorance on the part of the speaker" and thus convey "information about her epistemic state. Our initial analysis using topic models led us to conclude that measuring the frequency with which modal expressions appear in the novels could offer a further perspective on the question of their epistemological moment, one that picks up on more subtle epistemological indicators and thus might either confirm or qualify the results of the topic modeling.

We took a more targeted approach in this case. Rather than relying on unsupervised classification to identify constellations of terms, we instead pre-selected a list of 30 adverbs with epistemic resonance, building on the work of specialists in the field. We then charted their frequency across time, both for the novels as a whole and for shorter, in this case, 1,word chunks.

The results of the topic modeling discussed above provide a useful starting point for thinking about the epistemologies of the novel in historical context, especially as regards distinctions within and between the individual corpora. Returning to Table 2, we see that in both lists, the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are significantly overrepresented with regard to the corpus as a whole, a result that aligns with those scholarly narratives that posit the rise of the novel in the eighteenth century as an epistemological project.

On the other hand, the English corpus includes four novels in the top twenty that were written or published in the second half of the nineteenth century , , , , whereas the German corpus has none. Is it possible that German realist novels have, on aggregate, fewer epistemological preoccupations than their English counterparts?

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One way to get a better sense of general shifts in topic participation as they relate to our existing understanding of literary history is to consider average epistemology topic percentages across each corpus for separate periods, as I have done in Table 3. The literary-historical periods used in this table were chosen with an eye to cross-cultural validity as well as to making them as non-controversial as possible in light of the small size of the two corpora.

Comparisons of actual percentages across the two national traditions carry no meaning, because each corpus was topic modeled separately. In both cases one finds a high-point in the romantic period, followed by decline in the nineteenth century. The major discrepancy between the two corpora pertains to the twentieth-century. The percentage participation of the German novels from that period shifts upward Another view of the data allows us to approach these shifts from a more granular perspective.

Figures 1 and 2 plot the epistemology topic percentages of the novels in the English and German corpora published between and , with year of publication and percentage participation in the epistemology topics as the respective x and y axes. The two plots indicate that the aggregate drop in the means of the two corpora actually corresponds to a downward trend.

These are noisy patterns, to be sure, but they align well with other recent computational work on the nineteenth-century novel. To my mind, the most plausible hypothesis for the decline is a variant of the argument presented by Ryan Heuser and Long Le-Khac in their Stanford Literary Lab pamphlet from May Working with an English-language corpus of over 2, novels and a series of semantic taxonomies they constructed using the OED's historical thesaurus, Heuser and Le-Khac present compelling evidence of a significant drop in the frequency of terms denoting abstract values.

This drop, moreover, proved to be historically correlated with an increase in what they call "hard seed" terms - a collection of more concrete and physical description words. Considering the overwhelming predominance of abstract terms in topics 32 and 12, the aggregate data from the epistemological topics can serve as a corroboration of these results, one indicating that the decline in abstract values holds for both German and English literature, at least until the beginning of the twentieth century. Further support for this hypothesis can be found in categories identified by the topic models that correspond quite closely to Heuser and Le-Khac's "hard seed" field.

In addition to the epistemological topics, in other words, the topic modeling also generated parallel topics across corpora in which concrete terms predominate. Most notable among these are a "body parts" topic G We can thus link the aggregate results of the topic modeling to a broader decline over the course of the nineteenth century in novelistic abstraction and a correlated rise of concrete terms. By honing in on the question of epistemology, however, we are able to add some additional nuance to the picture presented by Heuser and Le-Khac. First and foremost, the aggregate trends should not blind us to the fact that the decline is not constant but ebbs and flows, at least as far as the epistemological preoccupations identified by the topic models are concerned.

In fact, the outliers may ultimately be more productive as a starting point for literary-historical arguments than aggregate trends. Novels with significant e. Indeed, inasmuch as these high-scoring novels feature explicit engagements with questions of knowledge and cognition rather than affect, we can perhaps see it as a kind of companion genre. While the topic percentages can give us a sense of which novels share a semantic field with the epistemology document, they tell us nothing about the how the terms in this field are deployed in concrete instances.

As the excerpts cited previously suggest, and as a review of other top-ranking passages confirms, novels do incorporate explicit, abstract reflections on the sources and validity of knowledge. But they also offer a range of examples of applied, and often embedded, epistemological inquiry. I will have more to say about embedding — the "how" of novelistic epistemologies — shortly. Before turning to that subject, however, we can use the results of the topic modeling to identify some distinctions at the level of content — the "what" — and thus begin to develop a preliminary typology that speaks to national particularities as well as cross-cultural parallels.

At issue is the question of what other topics predominate in those novels that rank highly for epistemological content. One way to answer this question is to select a subset of those novels - we took the top 25 - and then determine the top non-epistemology topics for each - we chose the top three.

We then aggregated the results to establish which of the non-epistemology topics most frequently rank among the top three non-epistemology topics for novels in our selection. Table 4 lists the results and includes the number of novels and their titles together with the top 20 words for each topic. In the year I moved with my family to the surroundings of Berlin, where the amazing nature revived my creativity. Beginning of I founded the second gospel chorus, which I managed for seven years www. End of I found my way back to writing, at which the energy of the moon has a fantastic influence on my selenoric stories.

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