Distant Reading for European Literary History

ELTE.DH has joined the international COST Action research project “Distant Reading for European Literary History”. The aim of this COST Action is to create a diverse research network, jointly developing the resources and methods necessary to change European literary history. Based on the paradigm of distant reading (using computer methods for analysing large collections of literary texts) the COST Action creates a common theoretical and practical framework for innovative, sophisticated, data-driven computational methods for literary text analysis. COST Action promotes a wider, more coherent, and better foundation for European literary history and cultural identity by enabling cross-border, large-scale patterns and changes across European literary traditions to be perceived. It is paramount to create innovative ways of assessing, to analyze and compare the rich cultural production manifested in tens of thousands of literary works in many languages that are increasingly available in digital form, if Europe is to understand its cultural coherence, variety, and differentiations.

In this venture, all European languages and literatures, including the
less-researched and less resourced ones, have an essential role to play. Consequently, building and coordinating the creation of a multilingual European Literary Text Collection (ELTeC) serve as a cornerstone of this action. The ELTeC core will contain at least 10 linguistically annotated subcollections of 100 novels comparable in their internal structure in at least 10 different European languages, including the Hungarian. The extended ELTeC will take the total number of full-text novels to at least 2,500. (Novels have been chosen among major literary genres for availability and size. Chronological limits are due to constraints related to copyright and availability of quality full texts.) ELTE.DH is currently taking part in the building of the Core Collection with the collaboration of the Hungarian Electronic Library (MEK) to encode and analyse Hungarian novels.