Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Shapes of Stories (Part 2)

A while ago I posted a video from Kurt Vonnegut's famous "Shapes of Stories" lecture.  In the decades following the lecture, we've seen the rise of what's been dubbed the 'digital humanities.'  This doesn't refer to hyptertext fiction or anything like that, but rather the use of mathematical algorithms to process data, often from thousands of books at once.  The Paris Review has a great write-up on Matthew Jockers' process of doing what Vonnegut tried to do when he was studying at the University of Chicago: figure out how plots are shaped, and just how many different shapes there are.  A more technical write-up can be found on Jockers' blog.


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