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University of Texas, Austin (Austin, TX 78712-0100)
Pramit Chaudhuri (Project Director: September 2015 to March 2021)
Classical Intertextuality and Computation

A research project on how techniques originally developed for computational biology, such as sequence alignment, can illuminate influences and stylistic attributes among classical Latin and Greek texts.

Literary scholarship has long been preoccupied with identifying verbal and stylistic relations among texts (“intertextuality”). This project is a collaboration between literary critics, systems biologists, and computer scientists to develop new computational tools for the study of such intertextual relations. These tools will enable researchers to trace connections among Latin and Greek texts at much a higher order of scale and efficiency than manual searches: 1) a sequence alignment tool, inspired by a core technique in genomics, which identifies verbal parallels that are close but inexact (the commonest kind of intertextuality); 2) a digital Greek-Latin thesaurus to enable identification of parallels across languages by meaning; 3) a set of tools for classification of texts according to various stylistic metrics, especially useful for studies of quotation and attribution; 4) phylogenetic methods to chart the evolutionary histories of classical texts and their traditions of reception.

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Project fields:

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Digital Humanities

$74,921 (approved)
$74,921 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2018