DH Text Submission GuidelinesA Digital Enquiry On The Italian Reception Of The English Novel In The Periodical Press Of The Long Eighteenth Century

paper, specified "short paper"
  1. 1. Andrea Penso

    Vrije Universiteit Brussels (Free University)

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This poster aims at showing the first results of the ongoing collaborative research project
The reception of the English novel in the Italian literary press between 1700 and 1830: a transcultural enquiry into the early shaping of the modern Italian literary and cultural identity. The project aims at investigating the reception of English novels in the Italian literary press during the Long Eighteenth Century (1700-1830). The analysis focuses on an existing corpus of data relative to the publication, dissemination, translations, critical reviews, and editorial advertisements of English novels in Italian literary newspapers and journals of the time. The main purpose of the project is to uncover how the English novels were introduced to the Italian readership through literary journalism with the application of digital methodologies of investigation. One of the project goals is in fact to create a methodological paradigm that may be extended to the study of the reception of English novels in the literary journalism of other nations.

The present paper therefore has three primary objects:
a) To show to the public the first research output: an open access, bilingual, and annotated digital repository, which consists of a Drupal-based software for corpora, and represents an immediate way to develop the research. The first step of the project has been the cataloguing, analysis, and digitization of the corpus of reviews. This preliminarily created digital database allows the subsequent computational, textual and critical surveys.
b) To show how the TEI has been applied to the analysis of the corpus. The text encoding of the reviews, conducted following the TEI standards, makes possible to point out the elements that are original and innovative with respect to the foreign reviews of the time which the Italian press copied from, often adapting the contents. In fact, the encoding of the reviews allows also to understand and visualise their “genealogical dimension” (i.e. the comparative analysis of reviews that were taken from French or English periodicals and made their way into the Italian press). These sources have already been identified, and the comparison between the encoded versions will allow to understand the extent of the influence French and English journalism had on the Italian press, and to outline the specific Italian input. The TEI will therefore make possible to focus on the re-interpretations of Italian reviewers who drew on the Italian literary tradition but challenged its subjects, genres and linguistic structures. Ultimately, the TEI will also be applied to integrate the stylometric analysis and the gathering of Geospatial information: the short presentation will allow me to show a case study and to explain how the mark-up process proves to be a fundamental part of the methodology for the analysis of the corpus.
c) To illustrate the two main lines of approach that will be applied in order to digitally explore the corpus. The first consists of a stylistic and linguistic analysis of the reviews, which will be pursued equalizing and comparing stylistic and lexical constellations belonging to different discursive practices from a number of periodicals and journalist. Digital stylometry, word frequency and statistical analyses tools such as
MiniTab and
Intelligent Archive will be used during this phase. The study of the readers’ response to the contents, spread by the novels via the reviews, is deeply connected to the stylistic analysis of the reviews. In fact, the outlining of the reviews’ stylistic features is crucial to understanding in which ways the contents were revealed to the public, and how the audience was influenced in the perception of the moral values and the social messages of the novels. The second line of approach will concern the spatial analysis of the data, which will be mapped thanks to
GIS digital tools integrated with Geo-criticism. The spatial analysis allows the visualization of popular reading trends in 18th and early 19th century Italy.


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