Texts, language and geography: Understanding literature using geographical text analysis

author: Ian Gregory, Lancaster University
published: Aug. 21, 2017,   recorded: October 2016,   views: 981
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY)


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This paper presents a case study undertaken as part of the European Research Council-funded ‘Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS, Places’ project and the Leverhulme Trust funded 'GeoSpatial Innovations in the Digital Humanities project.' Combining corpus-based approaches, automated geo-parsing techniques, and geographic information systems technology, this study investigates the geographies underlying the aesthetic terminology historically used in writing about the landscape of the English Lake District, today a world-famous national park in North West England. The focus of this investigation is a 1.5 million word corpus of writing about the Lake District, comprising 80 texts published between the years 1622 and 1900. In investigating this corpus, we exemplify how a hybrid geographical and corpus-based methodology can be used to study historical relationships between landscape writing and the wider environment in which the texts are set. The techniques used could, however, be used in any study where language and place are important.

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