• Digital Oulipo: Programming Potential Literature

    Author(s):
    Natalie Berkman (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Group(s):
    LLC 20th- and 21st-Century French, TC Digital Humanities
    Subject(s):
    20th-century French literature, Digital humanities, OuLiPo, Experimental approaches to literature, Computer science
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    French literature, 20th Century Literature, digital humanities, digital humanities research, oulipo
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M64R7M
    Abstract:
    To understand the Oulipo's forays into computer science and more importantly, why they abandoned them, I designed and carried out one of the inaugural projects of the Princeton Center for Digital Humanities. The goal was twofold: first, through exploratory programming, I intended to create interactive, digital annexes to accompany my doctoral dissertation; more importantly, I hoped that by attempting to reproduce the Oulipo's own algorithmic efforts, I would gain similar insights into the nature of "Potential Literature" and be able to understand why the group abandoned such efforts after the 1970s. This article describes the content, development, and results of my project. For each of my three Python-based annexes, I offer a historical survey of the Oulipian text or procedure discussed within and the Oulipo’s own proto-digital humanities experiments; then, I will talk about my own experiences as a coder-researcher, what learning Python has brought to my project, and how my exploratory programming offered me a new kind of critical reflection. Establishing these annexes forced me to learn to code, a type of work that does not only produce digital texts, but also helped me to reflect on the notion of chance in a more nuanced way. Finally, coding has allowed me to better understand the Oulipian mentality concerning this sort of digital experimentation.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Online publication    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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