Göttingen Dialog in Digital Humanities - Topic Modeling Dramatic Genre
Speaker: Christof Schöch, University of Würzburg
The concept of literary genre is a highly complex one: not only are different genres frequently defined on several, but not necessarily the same levels of description, but consideration of genres as social or cognitive constructs with a rich history further complicate the matter. This contribution focuses on thematic aspects of genre with a quantitative approach using Topic Modeling applied to French dramatic texts. Topic Modeling has proven to be useful to discover thematic patterns and trends in large collections of texts, with a view to class or browse them on the basis of their dominant themes. It has rarely if ever, however, been applied to collections of dramatic texts.
In this contribution, Topic Modeling is used to analyse a collection of French Drama of the Classical Age and the Enlightenment. The general aim of this contribution is to discover what types of semantic coherence topics show in this collection, whether different dramatic subgenres have distinctive dominant topics and plot-related topic patterns, and inversely, to what extent clustering methods based on topic scores per play produce groupings of texts which agree with more traditional genre distinctions. This contribution shows that interesting topic patterns can be detected which provide new insights into the way genres actually function and into the history of French drama of the Classical Age and the Enlightenment.
Place: Academy of Sciences, Theaterstr. 7, Conference room