Addressing the question, "what is data in literary studies," offers the chance to enlarge our interpretational procedures to include new methods and materials. But also to apply existing methods of analysis to new materials and questions. Quantitative approaches to archives and texts developed by digital humanists have offered one such expansion. These approaches often treat literature as a data mine. In response, I propose that literature is a heuristic for managing and conceptualizing data.

Heather Houser's picture
Heather Houser
Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin
Heather Houser is an assistant professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University, with a focus on contemporary fiction, the environmental humanities, literature and medicine, and affect studies. Her first book, forthcoming from Columbia University Press, is Ecosickness in Contemporary US Fiction: Environment and Affect. She is working on a new project, provisionally titled Environmental Art and the Infowhelm, that gives an account of the aesthetics of information management across environmental media. Her essays appear or will appear in American Literary History, Public Culture, American Literature, Contemporary Literature, American Book Review, and The Legacy of David Foster Wallace (U of Iowa Press).