- Year of publication: 2020
- Source: Show
- Pages: 5-8
- DOI Address: -
Digital humanities: some distinctive features
Rather than reporting on original research, this paper seeks to define the complex and rather diffuse domain of digital humanities by examining the historical and technological origins of the discipline. The distinction between the practice of the computer-mediated storage and retrieval of data relevant to human artefacts and the creative building of ‘digital culture’ draws a rough dividing line across the objectives of digital humanists. A historical outline of the distant origins of digital humanities suggests that the discipline is foundationally and intrinsically linked to computational linguistics and the development of linguistic resources. The boundaries of the discipline have been shifting concomitantly with the broadening of the scientific horizon and the evolution of dedicated technologies. Text mark-up (stemming from text annotation) and the multimodal facilities offered by ordinary browsers are the two basic techniques which have promoted the progressive development and expansion of digital humanities. These two techniques are closely interconnected as the language operated by the http protocol (HyperText Transfer Protocol) derives from the same source as that used for text mark-up. Hypertext and multimodality allow extending the uses of the computer to store and access humanities data of various kinds, including images, videos and sound recordings. Finally, the declaration of entities, as a further development of mark-up, makes it possible to apply semantic web techniques to carry out advanced research studies. The field of creative digital culture is very large, and there are abundant software applications that support such creative pursuits. Consequently, several forms of art have largely profited from technological advancement. Given this, the paper also addresses technological obsolescence as a serious problem in digital humanities.
Of henryk sienkiewicz’s bestseller
Henryk Sienkiewicz’s novel Quo Vadis made its way into Italy at the end of the 19th century through the efforts of Neapolitan translator Federigo Verdinois. The first part of this paper outlines the history of the popularity of Quo Vadis by focusing on the operations of Milanese publishers that made the Polish novel part of their offer in a variety of ways (as translations, adaptations, reworkings, plagiarisms, etc.). Bibliometric methods are used to establish why so many publishing houses decided to publish Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Roman romance. The analysis of the bibliometric data of the published translations helped assess and describe the extent and the character of the popularity that the novel garnered among Milanese publishers. The second part of the paper relates the findings of a multi-method quantitative study of the same material. The number of word tokens was compared between the original and the translations. The lexical richness across the texts under study was compared by means of the moving average type-token ratio (MATTR). Sentence lengths were also compared, as was sentence length distribution as time series. Two different programmes (WCopyFind and Tracer) yielded very similar results on the degree of the similarity of five-word phrases in pairs of translations, which was determined in network analysis.
The annotation of historical and literary texts in the age of social media
The annotation of historical and literary texts is approached differently by traditional philologists and digital philologists. The former are concentrated on the detailed study of a given text (close reading) while the latter are focused on the study of large quantities of texts (distant reading). A structured and collaborative annotation makes it possible both to add information to particular passages of individual texts, as in a traditional linear comment, and to connect data from entire textual collections through rigorous protocols. However, the standards developed by digital philologists are not highly appreciated by traditional academics, since the effort necessary to apply the proposed technologies allegedly diverts researchers’ attention from the object of study. As opposed to this objection, we intend to highlight that it is indeed possible to maintain the precision requisite for the application of computational tools to digital resources without renouncing the annotation practices established in traditional contexts. In support of the method, we report a number of case studies of digital scientific editions whose goals include both reconstructing respective texts and encouraging the dissemination of contents and public participation in the academic debate. In particular, we will discuss the following projects: a) the stylistic annotation of three different editions of Giacomo Leopardi’s translation of the Batracomiomachia; b) the scientific edition of Bellini’s letters; c) the multi-level annotated edition of Bassani; and d) the comparison of Umberto Eco’s variants of his Il nome della rosa.
filologia digitale annotazione collaborativa comunità edizione scientifica digitale formalizzazione digital philology collaborative annotation digital scholarly edition formalisation local communities
Pttb and ditmao: the modularity of some tools for digital humanities
For several years now, computational linguistics has been addressing the problems of and developing technological tools for automatic translation, with its important economic implications. At the same time, projects dedicated to facilitating translations of ancient works, which are often fraught with considerable hermeneutical difficulties, are far rarer. The PTTB system, which was designed and constructed at the Institute for Computational Linguistics (National Research Council) in Pisa, enables a group of about fifty scholars to translate the entire Babylonian Talmud, written in Aramaic and Biblical Hebrew, more quickly and uniformly. While the language and structure of the textual corpus made the development of machine translation algorithms impossible, translation memory and edit distance techniques have produced excellent results. Based on them, the system offers scholars a high percentage of correct translations, accessible through a very intuitive graphic user interface. The results are easily exportable to xml files suitable for the final editing and printing operations. So far, these innovations have made it possible to publish four treatises in six printed volumes with translations, annotations and thematic indexes within a relatively short time. Several other volumes have already been processed and are currently being edited. Various perspectives open up for the use of the digital Talmud in Italian. One of the most interesting options involves using machine learning and named entity recognition techniques to associate semantic or conceptual values (Talmud Ontological Framework) with and make cross-references among portions of the text that report or discuss similar themes. This will help various groups of (general and specialised) users to browse this vast and heterogeneous textual archive on the semantic basis. The strategy adopted here is also aligned with the Dictionnaire des Termes Médico-botaniques de l’Ancien Occitan (DiTMAO), another ongoing lexicographical project. It will enable users to semantically navigate within an extensive medical-pharmaceutical and botanical textual corpus in medieval Occitan. For these reasons, PTTB and DiTMAO can be regarded as two instances of one innovative technological infrastructure for linguistic and philological research in the field of digital humanities.
Who does Elena Ferrante look like? A revised stylometric identikit
Based on a corpus including 150 novels by 40 authors, a stylometric survey was conducted to assess which modern authors were similar to Elena Ferrante, the pen name used for eight novels, including My Brilliant Friend (Tuzzi & Cortelazzo 2018a and 2018b). The survey proved that Elena Ferrante’s writing style is remarkably different from that of the other main contemporary Italian novelists with the notable exception of Domenico Starnone. Follow-up studies (Cortelazzo, Mikros & Tuzzi 2018 and another under way) show that non-fiction works signed by Elena Ferrante may be attributed to different authors, i.e., Anita Raja, Starnone again, and a collective author including the staffof the E/O publishing house. This study complements the results obtained by previous research by assessing Elena Ferrante’s role in modern Italian fiction following the publication of her latest novel, The Lying Life of Adults. In addition, the analysis of her similarities to Domenico Starnone was enhanced by means of a larger corpus of his novels, thus corroborating the outcome of previous research.
text clustering similarity measure authorship attribution contemporary Italian literature classificazione dei testi misure di similarità attribuzione d’autore letteratura italiana contemporanea Elena Ferrante
Of the middle age
The implementation of a corpus of a historically determined variety of a language poses very relevant methodological problems. The principle one: is it possible to create a corpus actually representative of a linguistic variety of which we do not know, nor can we know, the extension, and in which the weight of literary texts necessarily is more conspicuous than in a real language? The answer from the point of view of corpus linguistics is certainly negative. But numerous tools are available today (first of all the Corpus TLIO and the Corpus OVI dell’Italiano antico) that would seem to show the opposite. Starting from the OVI experience, some methodological reflections on the creation of corpus of historical varieties of language will be proposed, showing how, although it is impossible to apply criteria of balance and representativeness stricto sensu, a series of corrections can be applied (in in particular by selecting the texts on the basis of the discursive traditions) which allow to have tools that effectively meet the needs of linguistic research.
Italian Lexicology Corpus Lingustic Discourse traditions Mediaeval Literature Lessicologia dell’italiano. Linguistica dei corpus Corpus OVI dell’italiano antico Tradizioni discorsive Letteratura medievale
From the Internet to the Art Gallery: Or, on Experime nts with Emojis
The article presents various forms of intersemiotic and intrasemiotic translations which use emoji signs, i.e. iconic characters employed in digital communication by users of popular Internet applications and platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook and Messenger). The use of emojis is becoming more and more widespread, as evidenced by the increasing number of text messages and works of art which consist exclusively of these characters. At the same time, attempts are being made to translate more extensive verbal texts (including literary works) into the nonverbal system of emojis. One of the feats such efforts have so far accomplished is an experimental translation of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio (La storia di un burattino), a classic of children’s literature, from Italian to emojitaliano (a system codified by the participants of the experiment), which was developed on Twitter and appeared in print in 2017. Emoji-based works of art have also found their way to art galleries. The Garden of Emoji Delights, a triptych by Carla Gannis, is a conspicuous example of intrasemiotic translation (from a non-verbal code to another non-verbal code) involving Hieronymus Bosch’s celebrated painting. Such applications of emoji are associated with paradigmatic changes in the humanities, which are related to the digital, iconic and performative turns and to today’s remix culture (Lawrence Lessig, Lev Manovich).
The figure of ‟Polish re fugee ” in Italian literary fiction. Edmondo de Amicis and Edoardo Albinati in search of a modern myth
The paper offers a contextual reflection on how the ‘Polish refugee’ figure is rendered in two examples of 19th- and 20th-century Italian literature. The paper opens with a brief discussion of the term ‘myth’ and its meanings in the age of Digital Humanities and proceeds to outline the literary and non-literary sources of the European myth of Poles as victims of foreign violence. Having given some attention to Edmondo de Amicis’s early poems addressing the 1863 uprising in Poland, the argument then focuses on his short story ‘Profughi polacchi’ (1863) as establishing the pattern of representing Polish emigrants in modern literature. Subsequently, the ways in which this narrative pattern changes in Edoardo Albinati’s novel Polacco lavatore di vetri (1998) are analysed to show that the idealised vision of the ‘refugee’ collapses. In conclusion, the dynamics of the presence and productivity of the myth in literature and in journalism are emphasised, and the differences in the handling of the myth in these two forms of writing are highlighted.
Cristina campo and the reception of gustaw herling-grudziński in italy
Among other records, the Archive of Gustaw Herling-Grudziński in Naples holds Cristina Campo’s unpublished letters to him. The letters bear witness to a literary relation between the two writers and intellectuals which began when Pale d’altare, a volume of short stories by HerlingGrudziński, was translated into Italian and published in Italy in 1960. Cristina Campo, a poet, essayist, translator and prominent figure in 20th-century Italian literature, was enthusiastic about HerlingGrudziński’s volume. She comprehensively discussed it in an insightful review entitled ‘La torre e l’isola,’ published in Il Punto in 1961. Her review marked Herling-Grudziński’s debut in Italy and became a highly influential factor in the Italian reception of his literary works. The author himself regarded it as one of the most important critical texts addressing his writings. The aim of my paper is to highlight the relevance of Cristina Campo to the Italian reception of Herling-Grudziński’s works and to illumine the relations between the Polish writer and his Italian critic through the unpublished letters preserved in the Herling-Grudziński Archive. The paper also refers to other reviews of Pale d’altare, which were offered by Elèmire Zolla, Roberto Calasso, Margherita Guidacci and Leone Traverso, associated with the same literary circle, and shows the impact of Campo’s enthusiasm on some of these appraisals.
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