I know that the process of collecting data is supposed to be repetitive and boring, but I thrive when I do this kind of data collection. I enjoy finding works or literature and then having to learn more about them. The monotonous nature of this type of collection is what I like to do because it has a soothing effect. Also, it has an exciting effect. This is strange I know, but finding literature and then seeing when it was published and then finding patterns like my collection was dominated by male writers is interesting to me. I didn’t run into any difficulty because the only thing that I did not know about some of my author was the date of birth and the date of death. This was not a difficulty because the internet knows everything.
The challenges that would plaque researches when looking for literary data is probably the same challenges we encountered. These works of literature are old and sometimes the information that is needed to fill out specific information is simply not available. Like for works that were published before the formation of publishing companies will have less information surrounding them. Also, the limitation that this brings to researchers are that their data is limited when they are not able to fill in the proper information. When researchers look at a data set and the information they need is not all there then the literary data set cannot be analyzed completely.
Literary data is the exact information that we filled in our excel sheet. This data is the distinct information that comes from a literary work. Examples of literary data are when the literature was published, and what publishing company was this literature published through. Basically literary data is every piece of information we filled in on our excel sheet and so much more. This data is essential to understanding the work of literature because it tells the time frame the novel was written and where the author was from etc. All of these factors affect how and what the author’s piece of literature is about.
Before doing this project I never really cared about literary data because it always seemed so available. When I google an author’s name I get their date of birth/death, their home town, nationality, descriptions of their life, and their works were published. This is not all the information, but this are the questions that I am asked to look up the most. I never thought about where this information came from. It comes from the work of compiling literary data and this is not an easy job. This job and process is long and tedious. It helps me understand literary data more because without the process of compiling literary data then we would not have the information that we have today about literature.
I think that Morreti’s Graph. Maps, Trees does a fantastic job of explaining why the collection of data is important and what exactly it is. The idea that struck me the most in Moretti’s article is that “the novel is the system of its genres: the whole diagram, not one privileged part of it. Some genres are morphologically more significant, of course, or more popular, or both-and we must account for this: but not by pretending that they are the only ones that exist” (Moretti 30). This what I feel that I have learned through this lab. When looking at all of the plain texts and seeing the variations of the novel then it is to plain to see that the novel did not just keep evolving from the same form. It evolved from all of the forms of writing. This is why literary data analysis is important because without the analysis of literary data Moretti most likely would not have come to his conclusion about novels.