Week 14 Journal

This was the week that (with help again!) I successfully wrote the code for my final project, as well as deciding on, downloading, and converting the rest of my corpus. I had to do this in several days’ phases; for deciding on which books I’d investigate, I used several recommendation lists and the Wikipedia page for post-war WWI literature as an introductory reference point, but I also had to find out whether they were written in first-person, which was accessible via outside information in some but not in all cases.

I also got to think more about my secondary sources, for which it was an important realization that I could use historical contextualization on the war and war literature, as well as studies of the first-person plural in literature as a whole. Such broad-reaching studies fit the tone of my project more than very individually-focused studies of the texts in my study. I also read the computational source on WWI literature that I’d found earlier this week, and found that it was useful to me as a productive source of scholarly conversation, which is to say: I kind of hated most of it! I thought that the mode through which they came to their conclusions felt like it overstated the newness of its conclusions, and at times simplified the themes of war poetry.

It also gave me an example of what I didn’t want to do with my project: I feel that if one of your conclusions (“One of the biggest themes in Great War poetry is the body”) can just be achieved by sitting down and reading some, if not all, Great War poetry, the computational approach doesn’t add a lot to the conversation, and a lot of the paper felt that way to me. Still, it was a really interesting reference point and they mentioned pronouns as an area of study at the end, which heightened my sense that I was contributing to a scholarly conversation.

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