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This content is taken from the University of Basel's online course, Literature in the Digital Age: from Close Reading to Distant Reading. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds Now that we’ve reached the end of Reading Literature in the Digital Age, let us briefly pause to reflect on what you’ve achieved. Together, we’ve had a good look at one short poem by Ezra Pound. So let me share it with you one final time. The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. One of the things we’ve done is zoom in on this text itself to tease out all its intricate meaning structures. We also dug deep into its historical context to ask ourselves how this poem negotiates the new urban, industrialised, chaotic and noisy world of modernity. We’ve also seen how this text relates to other modernist writings.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds Another thing that we’ve done is we’ve gone online to see what it means to read texts online, sometimes even together with hundreds of other readers in a process that is called social reading. We’ve also encountered a new professional reading strategy in the digital age called distant reading. We’ve seen how distant readers actually survey hundreds, even thousands of literary texts with the help of computer algorithms, quantifying, describing those many texts. And along the way, we’ve encountered my esteemed colleague Hugues Marchal’s wonderful Euterpe project. The final thing we’ve done is we’ve had a look at the stuff that literature is made of and how that stuff influences our reading experience.

Skip to 1 minute and 57 seconds I’ve had a good ride, and your contributions to this course made this a good ride. They’ve been fascinating, inspiring, thoughtful, thought provoking, and I thank you wholeheartedly for this.

Skip to 2 minutes and 10 seconds And all that remains to be said is: hope to see you again, be it here on the FutureLearn platform or at the University of Basel.


In this video Philipp Schweighauser reviews the course, thanks you for your participation, and bids you all farewell.

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This video is from the free online course:

Literature in the Digital Age: from Close Reading to Distant Reading

University of Basel