Literary Change. German Poetry between Realism and Early Modernism and Its Relation to Literary, Cultural and Social Developments

Simone Winko & Fotis Jannidis

The aim of the project is to model the development of poetry from realism to early modernism at the turn of the 19th Century in the context of other literary genres, public discourses, and social and cultural historical developments, thus enabling a review of relevant literary historical hypotheses and an integration of these partial theses into an integrative model. It builds on the results of the first phase of the project, which contrasted lyric texts of realism and early modernism. The new project aims to capture literary change over time. According to our guiding thesis, the development towards early modernism is associated with a pluralization and expansion of positions in the literary field. Building on the findings of literary historical research, change will be made visible through three parameters: gender roles including models of relationships, technology, and the impact of Darwin and Nietzsche as representatives of a scientific and philosophical anthropology, respectively. For each of the parameters, it will be examined whether and to what extent it affects changes in the content, emotion, and style of the texts. Examining each of the parameters along these three textual dimensions in poetry and the other data requires operationalizing nine indicators of change mostly through the adaptation and application of neural models. The starting point for each dimension are methods already established in the CLS. These are to be improved with respect to existing shortcomings. Topic Modeling produces good content representations for e.g. newspaper articles, but when applied to literary texts, topics lose clarity. We test whether this finding also holds for newer methods beyond LDA. Stylistic similarity is measured with delta. The attempt to transform the measure into a neural model should allow application to short texts and to detect stylistic features. Emotion recognition will be extended into an aspect-based component so that emotions associated with topics or entities can be specifically extracted. Poetry will be the focus of the study, but its relationships to other literary genres and public discourses will be explored as well, which will also be supplemented with data on social and cultural historical developments. To bring together a part of these theses into an integrative model and to test it on the basis of the analyzed corpora with a focus on the aforementioned three parameters is the overarching goal of the project. This is also a first attempt to take the isolated observation of literary phenomena, of which many CLS projects still consist, as a basis for an integrated formal model of literary-historical change.