Close Reading Vs Distant Reading

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Close reading refers to a process of analysing short segments of text. This process examines the flow of the sentences, the syntax and grammar and the individual words and phrases used by the author. In contrast, distant reading refers to the analysis of literature on a larger scale by comparing and contrasting large amounts of data. Close readings have been carried out since the 20th century and are therefore seen as a traditional method of text analysis. Distant reading is a newer form of text analysis brought about by Franco Moretti in the 21st century. “In contrast to Moretti, Jockers uses the terms micro- and macroanalysis instead of close and distant reading [Joc13]. Inspired by micro- and macroeconomics, he focuses on quantitative literary…show more content…
Distant reading shifts the focus of analysis from fine details to collecting large amounts of detail from various texts and drawing comparisons to discover more information. “The digital humanities tends either to distant-read enormous data sets or to microanalyze the linguistic features of single works. “Big data” projects use software to visualize massive data sets of publishing information containing millions of volumes, revealing historic patterns that would be unobtainable by scholars.” (Drouin, p.1). As performing a close reading of a novel takes such a large amount of time, analysing a large amount of texts would be far too time consuming. This lead to the development of distant reading. Distant reading is referred to as “distant” as the researcher does not read the novels/text but instead the texts are compiled by a computer for analysis. The computer can’t read and understand the texts as the researcher can but instead it searches specific information and as such developments which the researcher can then…show more content…
Text mining uses analytical software on a large amount of texts and compiling the results, “The phrase “text mining” is generally used to denote any system that analyzes large quantities of natural language text and detects lexical or linguistic usage patterns in an attempt to extract probably useful (although only probably correct) information [Sebastiani, 2002].”(Witten, p.1). “The Oxford English Dictionary defines text mining as the process or practice of examining large collections of written resources in order to generate new information, typically using specialized computer software.”(Prato) The process looks at the word frequency and distribution, patterns developed across areas like syntax, grammar, etc. and visualizing the results. This in turn allows the researcher to analyse the results in shorter periods of time. The text analysis process comprises of several stages or subtasks. The first step involves information retrieval. This involves collecting and identifying a group of texts usually from the web or a selected database for analysis. Next a process known as named entity recognition takes place. This looks at the names given to people, places and objects in the text and searches for references and

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