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Examining the Early Modern Canon: The English Short Title Catalogue and Large-Scale Patterns of Cultural Production

Tolonen, Mikko and Hill, Mark J. and Ijaz, Ali Zeeshan and Vaara, Ville and Lahti, Leo (2021) Examining the Early Modern Canon: The English Short Title Catalogue and Large-Scale Patterns of Cultural Production. In: Baird, Ileana, ed. Data Visualization in Enlightenment Literature and Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 63-119. ISBN 978-3-030-54913-8. (doi:10.1007/978-3-030-54913-8_3) (KAR id:90140)

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This chapter presents the findings of an ongoing digital project of the Helsinki Computational History Group at Helsinki Centre for Digital Humanities (HELDIG) focused on the history of eighteenth-century book publication. The authors have created a historical-biographical database based on The English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC), a standard source for analytical bibliographic research, and extracted a data-driven canon which considers changes over time, subject-topics, top-works, authors, publishers, publication place, and materiality. This chapter provides both methodological and historical insights into the development of print and demonstrates the huge analytical potential of harmonized metadata catalogs. While quantitative analyses of the book trade were attempted before, they did not engage with the complex process of canon formation at such a large scale. The authors' work highlights the formative role played by publishers in this process and the epistemological shift started at the end of the seventeenth century, when religious works were increasingly replaced by literary works. As the authors argue, this shift in the production and consumption of print allowed for a reinvention of the canon during the eighteenth century.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/978-3-030-54913-8_3
Uncontrolled keywords: Eighteenth century; ESTC; canon; digital humanities
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D203 Modern History, 1453-
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Mark Hill
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2021 12:55 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2021 10:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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