# Digital Formalism 📚
[Frank Fischer](https://www.hse.ru/en/org/persons/182492735) Higher School of Economics, Moscow · DARIAH-EU 🇪🇺
This presentation: [lehkost.github.io/slides/2019-08-30-potsdam-digital-formalism/](https://lehkost.github.io/slides/2019-08-30-potsdam-digital-formalism/)
[Summer School "Debating Data"](https://www.uni-potsdam.de/de/isc/kurse/summerschool/dd.html) · University of Potsdam · 30 August 2018 --- ## Somebody Know Who This Is? ![Roberto Busa](https://alchetron.com/cdn/roberto-busa-38cd1b53-4548-49bf-9196-b0f528240f0-resize-750.jpeg) [Roberto Busa](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_Busa) (1913–2011). -- ## Motto
„We’ve really got to get beyond the Busa story.“
([Ted Underwood, 6 Aug 2019](https://twitter.com/Ted_Underwood/status/1158765572609515521))
… and Russian formalism is the perfect place to search for early examples/predecessors of the digital humanities. --- Chapter 1.
### DH Forerunners -- The History And Context of the Digital Humanities In Russia
Inna Kizhner at DH2018.
Direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef5uQPa4svU.
-- ## Formalist Movement
- Andrei Bely’s collection of essays, „Symbolism“ (1910) - quantitative methods applied to the study of rhythm in poetry - a „formalist prior to the formalists in Russia“ - Moscow Linguistic Circle (1915–1924): Jakobson, Vinokur, Tomashevsky - OPOJAZ (Society for the Study of Poetic Language) (St. Petersburg, 1916–1930s): Shklovsky, Eikhenbaum, Brik, Tynyanov - Shklovsky’s „Art as Technique“ (1917), looking at structures of literary works - concept of estrangement/defamiliarization (ostranenie) -- ![Russian formalism, Stanford 2015 ](images/russian-formalism-stanford-2015.png)
Conference „Russian Formalism & the Digital Humanities“ (13 April 2015).
(Image source: [digitalhumanities.stanford.edu](https://digitalhumanities.stanford.edu/russian-formalism-digital-humanities-0).)
--- Chapter 2.
### „Moscow“ Formalism? -- „Moscow Formalism and Literary History“ (De Gruyter 2019) ![Moscow Formalism, cover](images/moscow-formalism-cover.jpg)
-- „Moscow Formalism and Literary History“ (De Gruyter 2019) ![Moscow Formalism, table of contents](images/moscow-formalism-volume-toc.png)
-- ## Three Generations of Muscovite Formalists
- Gasparov rescued Yarkho from oblivion, published him, regarded him his „teacher“ - Shapir thoroughly studied Gasparov, but did not consider himself to be his student, much less an „epigone“ - Shapir published Yarkho’s legacy work „Methodology for the Exact Study of Literature“ -- ## Boris Yarkho (1889–1942) ![Yarkho et alii](images/yarkho-et-al.jpg)
f.l.t.r: Grigorij Yarkho (Yarkho’s brother, philologist and translator from the French), Mariya
Vasiljevna Vakhterova (wife of classical philologist Fedor Petrovsky), **Boris Yarkho**.
Image source: https://urokiistorii.ru/article/52560.
-- ## Boris Yarkho (1889–1942)
- early data-driven formalism - describing literature as a system of proportions and relations between different features - development of these structures over time and across genres - incorporating concepts of biology, comparison to the development of life (evolutionary concepts) - „Methodology for the Exact Study of Literature“ (publ. 2006) -- ## Speech Distribution According to Yarkho
![Shakespeare vs Romanticists 2, speech distribution in average](images/yarkho-shakespeare-vs-romanticists-2.png)
Shakespeare vs moderate romanticists (in average): „romantic drama is a return to Shakespeare“.
-- ### Drama Corpora Project (DraCor) ![DraCor-Frontpage](images/dracor-frontpage.png)
-- ## Speech Distribution According to Yarkho
![Dmitry Donskoy, speech distribution](images/speech-distribution-ozerov-dmitrij-donskoj.png)
Implemented in **DraCor** (example: Ozerov’s *Dmitry Donskoy*):
-- ## Yarkho: Methodological and Nomological Conclusions
- differences between Romanticism and Classicism obtained in a clear numerical expression - the phenomenon that we have measured (speech distribution) contains specific instances of universal laws which govern how things change in nature - law of continuity, law of independent assortment, law of regression -- ## Yarkho Anticipating DH Labs
- size of Yarkho’s working corpus: around 200 plays (de, es, fr, it, ru) - „A great inconvenience of the comparative-statistical method that we are proposing is the unlikelihood that one person would ever be able to study a sufficient number of features of Classicism and Romanticism, should they not wish to make this their entire life’s work. **This requires collective work**, like that of an ant colony, with each ant making its contribution to the overall construction of the anthill. Here is an ant’s contribution to our study of an objective distinction between classicists and romanticists.“ - „If we were to work out the transgression coefficients for features I and II, we could obtain a complex transgression coefficient in the same way as we obtained the complex correlation coefficient. However, working this out for feature II would require over 150 standard deviation calculations. **Not having the staff on hand for this**, we would have lost more time on this than it would have been worth.“ -- ## Yarkho’s Legacy
„We have demonstrated the technique; the path has
been cleared for those more fortunate than us.“ -- ## Mikhail Gasparov (1935–2005)
(Image source: [Wikimedia Commons](https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gasparov.jpg).)
-- ![Gasparov, tables](images/gasparov-tables.png)
Mikhael L. Gasparov: [The Evolution of Russian Rhyme](https://doi.org/10.1515/jlt-2019-0003) (1984)
-- ## Gasparov’s „Evolution of Russian Rhyme“
- part of a larger research program to systematically describe Russian verse, carried out over several years - the „Russian method“: statistical ventures around verse theory (James Bailey 1979) - in his postscript from 1997, Gasparov states that, unfortunately, „there was no way to do a complete recalculation of the vast material“ - If only the formalists would have had computers! - Moscow-Tartu Summer School on Digital Humanities in 2016 in Yasnaya Polyana: workshop on recounting Gasparov (not rhymes, but meters) - poetic subcorpus of the Russian National Corpus, openly accessible online: http://ruscorpora.ru/old/search-poetic.html -- ## Maksim Shapir (1962–2006)
(Image source: [rvb.ru](http://rvb.ru/philologica/series_eng/series07eng.htm).)
-- ### Maksim Shapir
- [„For Thee There Is No Weight nor Measure“. The Possibilities and Limitations of „Exact“ Methods in the Humanities](https://doi.org/10.1515/jlt-2019-0004) (2005) - „The study of texts using precise methods should by all means be welcomed, but the mathematisation theory of text as such, is alas unfeasible: each object, replicable in the vast variety of its details, is **unique** as a unit of meaning in its entirety and in all of the intricacies of its material embodiment in its sensually perceived form. It is this **›extreme‹ uniqueness** which results in the divide between the natural sciences and the humanities created by the replicability of language and the originality of speech.“ --- – Discussion –
- DH community: collective work 🐜 🐜 🐜 - the role of corpora (maintenance, sustainability, growth) - digitisation of pre-digital approaches (to reproduce and scale up) - limitations of digital approaches