Lithuanian Literature in the Scope of Distant Reading

Indrė Žakevičienė

Abstract


The aim of this article is to discuss the meanings of a specific place chosen in different literary texts, using preliminary results of the research of Franco Moretti in the field of distant reading, to ponder upon the approach towards this specific location in different cultures – in literary texts of Lithuanian and American authors. The main instrument to reach the aforesaid aim is the statements of network theory which are important to the distant reading method. The main focus is on the specific kind of network ties: the so-called bridging tie, which in the network theory is considered to be a potential source of new ideas. The bridging tie connects the node/individual to somebody who is not connected to other friends of this particular node/ individual. This type of tie stipulates the possibility to generate new ideas, to widen one’s horizons and to gain more information. The bridging tie allows the character to learn something new, which is not known by the members of the concrete group, who are connected with each other through strong or weak ties of state or event. Speaking about the vast number of literary texts in the context of world literature and emphasizing the number of English literary works written during the period of more than one hundred years, Moretti looks for reliable ways to summarize literary facts, and to find some consistent patterns and particular schemes to reach this almost utopian aim. The author of this article tries to find a particular consistent pattern while looking at the randomly chosen novels of Rasa Aškinytė and Ernest Hemingway and the short stories of Tomas Staniulis and Sherwood Anderson, and choosing the episodes in different bar settings. After the research there comes the conclusion that the bar is treated as a place, open to innovations; the pattern is violated in the short story of Anderson, but this exception could be explained by Anderson’s intention to write the grotesque.

Keywords


distant reading; network theory; node; bridging tie; text; communication

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12697/IL.2014.19.1.9

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ISSN 1406-0701 (print)
ISSN 2228-4729 (online)