The ‘computational turn’ inevitably has its doubters. Cheeseman (2011) confessed being sceptical about the computability of most of the problems he dealt with as a literary translator, editor, critic, and cultural historian, while conceding that digitisation and computation make helpful tools. For instance, digital software might be able to systematically and thoroughly analyse the differences and similarities between a large set of redactions of ‘a’ text, and would probably be essential, for example, to manage a large data set such as a broad corpus of texts across different languages. But, Cheeseman questions, what is it exactly that computation can offer other than searchability and low-level pattern recognition? He accepts that computation is capable of identifying recurrent or parallel lexical and syntactic features, but sees it as little help in dealing with semantics. For Cheeseman the connective, pattern-seeking abilities of digital machinery cannot replicate the deep reading of primary readings, the cultural context provided by further texts, and the development of a cognitive critical argument.

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A quote saved on May 25, 2015.


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