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Thursday, May 12 • 10:45am - 11:00am
The Corpus of Revenge Tragedy (CoRT): Toward Interdisciplining Early Modern Genre Analysis

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Digital Humanities (DH) enhances early modern English dramatic studies through its capacity to complement existing modes of literary analysis and disrupt practices of interpretation and knowledge construction. Additionally, within the work of genre analysis, DH can provocatively explore a genre’s discursivity and its position as a cultural phenomenon. In the continued study of early modern revenge tragedy—a genre that has received relatively little attention in comparison to others—DH invaluably demonstrates this genre’s increasing participation in discourses of medicine and anatomy by tracing the movement of anatomical language from the medical register to a dramatic one. This project reports on a corpus linguistics genre analysis of early modern revenge tragedy and widens the scope of inquiry about the roles of the body and anatomical language in revenge tragedy. I created the Corpus of Revenge Tragedy (CoRT) as an experimental corpus of 40 revenge tragedies to compare against Shakespeare’s corpus, the Early Modern English Medical Texts Corpus (EMEMT), the Corpus of English Dialogues (CED), and the EEBO-TCP database of more than 25,000 texts. To map increasing frequencies of anatomical and medical vernacular in this genre, AntConc was used to compare these corpora. To focus interpretation, I collated—through traditional concordance-making methods—an Anatomical Lexicon (AL) of representative material and metaphorical words from revenge tragedies. Using my AL to compare word frequencies in the experimental CoRT against the control corpora, I demonstrate and depict—through data visualization and geospatial mapping—the lexical comparability between revenge tragedies and contemporary medical texts. Such an examination of how revenge tragedies adopted and exploited the medical register is significant to understanding not only the cultural significance of the revenge tragedy genre but also early modern conceptions of embodiment and the pervasiveness of the contemporary medical arena in popular culture.


Thursday May 12, 2016 10:45am - 11:00am MST
COOR L1-18 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  Culture and Ethics, Long Paper
  • Session Location COOR L1-18