Hunger for stories

We all seem to have hunger for stories that we can find among other in literature. The desire to get more stories grows and now we are surrounded by them everywhere. But surprisingly we cannot fully understand, on the one hand, to what extent and how exactly stories told in books impact our lives, and the technology, on the other hand, can be very smart but still not smart enough to tell a good impactful story. My colleague Joris van Zundert calls it a Reversed George Lucas Paradox, meaning that Lucas knew how he wanted to make the “Star Wars” but the technical things didn’t work good enough, but we have beautiful technology and face the challenge of analysing and synthesising the narrative. It’s always better to fill the gaps in research by common effort so we gathered in beautiful ZiFcenter in Bielefeld to contribute to literary studies en get inspiration from each other. With special thank to J. Berenike Herrmann and Federico Pianzola for organising this event and to my colleagues Marijn Koolen and Joris van Zundert for collaborative thinking and support.

Interrogating Parsing for Literary Fiction

At CLIN2023, the 33rd Meeting of Computational Linguistics in The Netherlands, Carsten Schnober presented a paper in which we consider the quality of lemmatization and part-of-speech (POS) tagging results from a number of standard parsers often used in computational research (and natural language processing tasks in general). We came to this comparison because, when inspecting… Continue reading Interrogating Parsing for Literary Fiction

What do we know about literature?

IGEL conference 2023 In the movie Three Thousand Years of Longing, Alithea says to the Djinn, “I’m not sure how it works. I am a literary scholar. We don’t know much.” Just like all scientists, I would add, who are constantly in the search for better understanding phenomena. After all, knowledge is built progressively. Fortunately,… Continue reading What do we know about literature?


This year the team of Impact and Fiction project was represented on one of the most important events in the world of Digital Humanities – ADHO Digital Humanities Conference which took place on-site in a beautiful city of Graz, Austria. It was the first time in the last 4 years that the conference was held… Continue reading DH2023

A Tiny Cartography of Mapping Literature

My guess is that almost any reader will recognize the map from figure 1, just above. It is a map of Middle Earth. This image was reproduced from the 1993 paperback edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The map and its various siblings that have adorned some of the first pages of… Continue reading A Tiny Cartography of Mapping Literature

Switching Perspectives

By Marijn Koolen When talking about books, readers often describe different experiences from different perspectives. What happens with characters in stories might be told from a third person perspective. Characters are mentioned by name first, then later referred to by ‘he’ or ‘she’. What happens to the reader during reading tends to be told from… Continue reading Switching Perspectives

The Ethics of Using AI to Study Literature and Reviews

By Joris J. van Zundert and Julia Neugarten Two weeks ago, NBD Biblion, an independent non-profit organization that provides information services for Dutch libraries, announced that it would fire most of its reviewers. NBD Biblion had been using a team of about 700 reviewers who provided short descriptions of newly published books. Reviewers made 14… Continue reading The Ethics of Using AI to Study Literature and Reviews

An Ambitious Project

By Peter Boot For the study of literature, we live in exciting times. This has two reasons: we can computationally analyse the full text of books and we now have access to large amounts of data about how books affect readers. With respect to the computational analysis of book texts, this allows us to reformulate… Continue reading An Ambitious Project