Posts Tagged ‘Patricia Cohen’

“Non-consumptive research”? There must be a catchier word for it.

Monday, December 6th, 2010
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Jockers: Definitely "non-consumptive" (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

Patricia Cohen ran a post on the “Arts Beat” at the New York Times spotlighting my recent piece on Matt Jockers‘s and Franco Moretti‘s “non-consumptive research” — that is, they shovel books into a computer, which allows researchers to make more empirical judgments on books, if you ask the right questions and look in the right directions.  It’s “non-consumptive” because the researchers don’t actually read the books — heaven help anyone who tried to read thousands of Victorian novels; it would do something to the brain. It’s a fascinating line of research — though not quite my thing.  I’m interested to see what they turn up.

Cohen’s beef?

Did the folks at the Literature Lab try to come up with a particularly un-catchy phrase? Readers, I’m sure you can do better. Send in your suggestions for a more felicitous phrasing.

For those of us who have read a lot of Victorian novels, the word “consumption” certainly does have other connotations.  Jockers is a strapping young man — definitely not “consumptive.”