Welcome to my webpage! I am PI of the Basel SNF-Digital Lives Project Forschungslogiken in den texbasierten DH nach dem Machine Learning Turn as well as Management Committee member of the COST Action Distant Reading for European Literary History and the current chair of the ADHO Special Interest Group “Digital Literary Stylistics”.
As a Digital Humanist, I strive to understand the potential as well as the constraints of the digital transformation of society and the Humanities. My main field is textual literary DH, with a PhD on metaphor in language, thought and communication from VU University Amsterdam.
Currently, I work as a postdoctoral researcher (“Oberassistentin”) at the DHLab at the University of Basel (Switzerland).
In my research, I focus on the digital modeling of literary discourse. One building block for this research are corpora, digitally representing literary artefacts, that I analyse by means of mixed methods: manual annotation and text mining. My current main research questions are on valuation of literature by users of social reading platforms, the style of writers of the 19th and early 20th Centuries, as well as the representation of “nation”, “cosmopolitanism”, and “region”. I am also keen on finding out more about the effects of reading on well-being.
To this end, next to Corpus Linguistics and Data Science, I draw on Literary Historiography, Discourse Analysis, (Neo) Structuralism, and Cognitive Poetics. One research group where all these perspectives converge is the IGEL research coalition “Computational Stylistics”.
My favorite textual features are metaphor, morpho-syntactic complexity, and modality, all approached as “style”.
With regard to style, I investigate how holistic descriptions and assessments of literary writing (e.g., opaque, transparent, and vivid, see Herrmann, 2018a) may be measured by formal discourse features, such as word frequency (Herrmann, 2017), sentence complexity (by readability formula, Herrmann, accepted), and part of speech (Herrmann, 2018a), but also metaphor (Herrmann, 2018b, in press; Herrmann, Dorst & Woll, in press) and narrative perspective (Herrmann, Mattner & Lauer, in preparation).
I plead happily guilty of operationalizating such constructs as “style”, “narrative vividness”, and “valuation” for textual DH. With my colleagues at the project “Forschungslogiken” are currently working on valuation (“Bewertung”) of books and cooking recipes on the web.
My favorite literary epochs (the term with fuzzy edges) are Realism and Modernism, specifically the transition from one to the other. I have been PI of the project “KOLIMO”, building a representative comparative corpus of literary Modernism in German, rendered in XML (eXist). Currently, I run most of my analyses in R.
Before moving to Basel, I was a postdoc (‘wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin’) at the Department of German Philology at Göttingen University, and postdoctoral member of the Courant Centre ‘Text structures’ and the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities (GCDH). After I obtained my MA (German Language and Literature, Sociology, and Spanish Language and Literature) at the University of Göttingen, including a year abroad at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, I was a trainee at the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology Leipzig, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology.
Keywords: Digital Literary Stylistics, Methodology and Epistemology of Digital Humanities, Comparative Corpus Stylistics, Computational Discourse Analysis, Cultural Heritage, Metaphor Studies, Evaluation and Subjectivity on the Social Web Franz Kafka and Robert Musil.