Digitizing Enlightenment

BookDigitizing Enlightenment

Digitizing Enlightenment

Digital Humanities and the Transformation of Eighteenth-Century Studies

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2020:07


July 13th, 2020

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Digitizing Enlightenment explores how a set of inter-related digital projects are transforming our vision of the Enlightenment. The featured projects are some of the best known, well-funded and longest established research initiatives in the emerging area of ‘digital humanities’, a field that has, particularly since 2010, been attracting a rising tide of interest from professional academics, the media, funding councils, and the general public worldwide. Advocates and practitioners of the digital humanities argue that computational methods can fundamentally transform our ability to answer some of the ‘big questions’ that drive humanities research, allowing us to see patterns and relationships that were hitherto hard to discern, and to pinpoint, visualise, and analyse relevant data in efficient and powerful new ways.

In the book’s opening section, leading scholars outline their own projects’ institutional and intellectual histories, the techniques and methodologies they specifically developed, the sometimes-painful lessons learned in the process, future trajectories for their research, and how their findings are revising previous understandings. A second section features chapters from early career scholars working at the intersection of digital methods and Enlightenment studies, an intellectual space largely forged by the projects featured in part one.

Highlighting current and future research methods and directions for digital eighteenth-century studies, the book offers a monument to the current state of digital work, an overview of current findings, and a vision statement for future research.

Featuring contributions from Keith Michael Baker, Elizabeth Andrews Bond, Robert M. Bond, Simon Burrows, Catherine Nicole Coleman, Melanie Conroy, Charles Cooney, Nicholas Cronk, Dan Edelstein, Chloe Summers Edmondson, the late Richard Frautschi, Clovis Gladstone, Howard Hotson, Angus Martin, Katherine McDonough, Alicia C. Montoya, Robert Morrissey, Laure Philip, Jeffrey S. Ravel, Glenn Roe, and Sean Takats.


Author Information

Simon Burrows is Professor of History and of Digital Humanities at Western Sydney University and lead-investigator of the award-winning French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe project. His books include 'Blackmail, Scandal and Revolution', 'Enlightenment Best-Sellers' and (as co-editor) 'Press, Politics and the Public Sphere in Europe and North America, 1760-1820'. Glenn Roe is Professor of French Literature and Digital Humanities at Sorbonne University. He has published widely on a variety of subjects, including French literary and intellectual history, the design and use of new computational methodologies for literary-historical research, and the constructive critique of ‘big data’ approaches to cultural collections.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of figures and tables9
Introduction: Digitizing Enlightenment19
I Digital projects, past and present 43
The ARTFL Encyclopédie and the aesthetics of abundance45
Electronic Enlightenment: recreating the Republic of Letters73
Mapping the Republic of Letters: history of a digital humanities project91
Cultures of Knowledge in transition: Early Modern Letters Online as an experiment in collaboration, 2009-2018107
The Comédie-Française Registers Project: questions of audience151
Towards a new bibliography of eighteenth-century French fiction169
The FBTEE revolution: mapping the Ancien Régime book trade and the future of historical bibliometric research185
Shifting perspectives and moving targets: from conceptual vistas to bits of data in the first year of the MEDIATE project213
II Digital methods and innovations 237
Seeking the eye of history: the design of digital tools for Enlightenment studies239
Topic modelling the French pre-Revolutionary press265
Putting the eighteenth century on the map: French geospatial data for digital humanities research295
The illegal book trade revisited: an insight into database protocols and pitfalls323
The empire of letters: Enlightenment-era French salons345
Opening new paths for scholarship: algorithms to track text reuse in Eighteenth Century Collections Online371
Conclusion: beyond digitizing Enlightenment393
Index of persons425
Index of titles433
General index437