CfP: Computer-based analysis of drama and its uses for literary criticism and historiography, 12-13 March 2015

Over the last years, some developments paved the way for the computer-based analysis of dramatic texts. On the one hand, more and more texts are available electronically as, for example, in the collection Théâtre classique  ( for French drama, the complete works of Shakespeare (e.g. and a collection of German dramas and libretti ( On the other hand, we can now see the emergence of new methods and tools that allow us to gain and compute information like, for example, word frequency, speech length, configuration structures or topics automatically, also from large amounts of texts.

Only rarely, results of computer-based text analysis find their way into literary history (except for some studies on authorship attribution as, for example, in the Molière/Corneille and the Shakespeare/Marlowe debate). The books of, for instance, Franco Moretti, Matthew Jockers and Matt Erlin/Lynne Tatlock may serve as evidence that this is now changing but they are restricted to prose and non-fictional texts. As questions of literary criticism and history are at the heart of literary studies and dramatic texts have genuine textual structures, our workshop aims at evaluating the possibilities of computer-based drama analysis for theses domains. What can be the use of the mostly quantitative data for questions such as quality, style, popularity, canonicity, genre, periods of literary history, and individual authorial periods of production? What kind of new questions, which new micro- or macronarratives are arising from these approaches? Where are the differences to prior non-computational approaches to quantitative aspects of drama (see e.g. the works of F.v.Cube/W. Reichert, Solomon Marcus, Manfred Pfister)?
We invite contributions which mostly focus on historical and critical research on dramatic texts and libretti. We encourage interested researchers to provide also some information on the creation of their corpora, annotation of the texts, preprocessing, data mining and (semi-)automatic extraction of data from the text with the help of tools, scripts and algorithms.

Please send proposals of 600-900 words in English or German together with the most relevant research titles (your own as well as others) and brief biographical details by 30 September 2014 to

The workshop will take place at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Travel expenses and hotel costs will be refunded.

Dr. Katrin Dennerlein
Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Lehrstuhl für Computerphilologie und Neuere deutsche Literaturgeschichte