Text mining for the humanities?
What could we need to know about interpreting and understanding the meaning of a work of literature that could be facilitated by digital text mining? I went to part of a dissertation proposal defense today (Bei's). Someone on her committee pointed out that literary scholars use digital tools for pre-critical work, finding the books they wish to criticize. Humanities scholars would only benefit if these text mining strategies used for classification had some way of giving them access to surprising or new meanings. But what if these tools were used for post-critical work, to see if a book's or a group of books' critical reception had some basis in the frequency of word occurrences in the text? So say, for instance, librarians in the late 19th century deemed some books "realistic" and "true to life" and other books "improbable" or "false." Would there be anything in a text analysis to back up this kind of distinction? Particularly