Recent Posts

  • 17 Apr 2018 » Learning to Ask Questions in DH: A Twitter Thread

    I haven’t kept up with regular posts here, mostly because many (all?) of the conversations I have online regarding my work are happening on Twitter these days. This naturally gives way to the occasionally Twitter thread—basically a blog post divided into several tweets.

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  • 10 Nov 2015 » Writing a Dissertation in Markdown

    I started writing my dissertation this semester, and the beginning of this big new project prompted me to take a close look at the tools I use to write. As I was figuring out what my workflow would be for the next few years, I found it helpful to read blog posts and essays about the working habits of others. My favorite was Ben Schmidt’s convincing post on the value of Markdown, and I wound up adopting a method that is close to his recommendations (and to the recommendations of the people he links to in that post).

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  • 31 Jul 2015 » Bad Blood: John Dryden, Taylor Swift, and Lyrical Gossip

    Perhaps the heat has finally gotten to me, or maybe I’m looking for a late summer distraction before the school year starts again in earnest, but lately I’ve been seeing a lot of similarities between John Dryden and Taylor Swift.

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  • 22 Jul 2015 » Edmund Spenser and Optical Character Recognition

    All DH tasks, even the most automated ones, are supported by the efforts of human investigators, who often spend countless hours entering and cleaning up data. At the HDW summer workshop, teams of faculty, staff, librarians, and undergraduate and graduate students spend 8 weeks sharing this kind of work on a wide array of digital projects.

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  • 25 Jul 2014 » @endlessmonument, A Twitter Bot for Spenser's Epithalamion

    In the Epithalamion, a wedding ode written to commemorate Spenser’s marriage to Elizabeth Boyle in 1595, the poet implies that he has created a talismanic protection for himself and his new bride. This protection is derived from the synchronicity with time that Spenser built into the poem. With 24 stanzas and 365 long lines, the Epithalamion’s surface-level organization by the length of both the day and the year is obvious, but it wasn’t until A. Kent Hieatt’s 1960 book Short Time’s Endless Monument that the complexities of Spenser’s temporal arrangement were made visible to modern readers. Hieatt shows that Spenser accounts for the specific conditions of time at the location of his wedding, including the exact moment of sunrise and sunset on the day of the wedding, St. Barnabas’ Day, the slight difference between diurnal and sidereal measurements of time, and divisions in the day (quarter-hours) and the year (seasons). These and other elements of Spenser’s fine tuning, which went undetected for nearly 400 years, reveal a poet deeply committed to encoding the marriage ode to a specific place and time.

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  • 05 Jan 2014 » On Learning to Code

    As part of a course in the digital humanities that I took last semester, I learned the basics of Python and completed a project using the programming language to analyze metrical patterns in Shakespeare’s sonnets. As the popularity of the digital humanities and literary informatics grows, my experience is becoming less and less unique. More people like me, who have a background in the humanities and thought they left math and science far behind, are trying their hands at coding for the first time.

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  • 26 Nov 2013 » Productive Procrastination

    This blog is the result of my procrastination. I’ve spent the evening building it instead of working on seminar papers, because I needed a break and wanted to try out Jekyll. I used to have a Tumblr instead of a real website, but I wanted more control and less reliance on a platform. (Also, I wasn’t really maintaining it.) As I learn more, the site may look different, but for now the simple look is refreshing.

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