Text Comparison and Digital Creativity

The Production of Presence and Meaning in Digital Text Scholarship


In fourteen thoughtful essays this book reports and reflects on the many changes that a digital workflow brings to the world of original texts and textual scholarship, and the effect on scholarly communication practices. The spread of digital technology across philology, linguistics and literary studies suggests that text scholarship is taking on a more laboratory-like image. The ability to sort, quantify, reproduce and report text through computation would seem to facilitate the exploration of text as another type of quantitative scientific data. However, developing this potential also highlights text analysis and text interpretation as two increasingly separated sub-tasks in the study of texts. The implied dual nature of interpretation as the traditional, valued mode of scholarly text comparison, combined with an increasingly widespread reliance on digital text analysis as scientific mode of inquiry raises the question as to whether the reflexive concepts that are central to interpretation – individualism, subjectivity – are affected by the anonymised, normative assumptions implied by formal categorisations of text as digital data.

E-Book: List price

EUR €147.00USD $181.00

Biographical Note

Willem Th. van Peursen, Ph.D. (1999) in Semitic Languages, Leiden University, is associate professor of Old Testament at Leiden University. His publications include The Verbal System in the Hebrew Text of Ben Sira (Brill, 2004) and Language and Interpretation in the Syriac Text of Ben Sira (Brill, 2007).

Ernst D. Thoutenhoofd, Ph.D. (1996) in Sociology and Social Policy, University of Durham (UK), is lecturer in clinical education at Groningen University. He has published in various social science disciplines on the construction of knowledge, and is an editor of the Brill book series on Scholarly Communication.

Adriaan van der Weel, Ph.D. (1998) in textual studies and English literature, Leiden University, holds the Bohn chair of modern Dutch book history in the Department of Book and Digital Media Studies at Leiden University. He is an editor of Digital Humanities Quarterly, and the Brill book series on Scholarly Communication.

Review Quotes

" Text Comparison and Digital Creativity is an imaginative book that creatively uses the toolbox of philology, philosophy, linguistics, media and social studies, and ethnography to make us think about our own laboratory of e-philologists as an emblematic instance of social shaping of technologies, as a lens through which bigger phenomena can be investigated, old practices re-invented, and new knowledge created." Arianna Ciula, Literary and Linguistic Computing, 27/1 (2012)


All those interested in text production, analysis and comparison, the histories and transformations of text, authorship and presence, the linguistics of text, the sociology of text, as well as those interested in new methods of social science and humanities inquiry.

Index Card

Collection Information