The Connection Between Digital Humanities and Close Reading

As a literature major, reading and analyzing texts, has become a routine procedure. Of course, when close reading a literary piece of work, a reader always tries to consider how else and what other ways they can further look into the text, and what other scopes they may use, and this is when digital humanities comes in. Personally what I enjoy most about literature is analyzing a text, so I am always looking into considering how other literary scholars view certain words, lines, passages and chapters. I always analyze a text with a limited scope, which is just understanding the text through my own interpretations. Sometimes if this texts was taught in a lecture course, I benefit from the class discussions and experience other ideas and looks on the text. This is also still limited, and I would like to research how digital humanities expands the scope of close reading. When a reader goes to the internet and other forms of social and digital media, they have full unlimited access to all forms of analysis on any text they want. There are fanbases for certain authors dedicated to comparing the author’s life work. There are blog posts on any topic in literature or even how a certain word has different meanings. Of course, delving into the digital humanities, does not only expand the reader towards more interpretations of a literary text. The benefit of the digital world is that it is a worldwide phenomenon. How people close read a piece of work and interpret it, is based on their own cultures and beliefs. How the environment they were raised in affects how they interpret a text, but imagine going into the digital world and not only being exposed to a vast group of people, but be exposed to ideas and interpretation from all societies and cultures. I grew up my entire life, living from society to society, culture to culture, but not everyone gets to have the chance to travel and be exposed to the different lifestyles present in the world. With the digital world, it makes it simple for readers to travel the world and communicate with others in the world. Readers do not necessarily have to communicate with others about the text, they can get to know each other and learn about a country they discovered in a book. I just feel that digital humanities expands knowledge. In my undergraduate career, I was taught that reading allows one to travel into the world of the book when reading, but with digital humanities being involved, the reader not only travels into the world of the book, they have the ability to enter any search topic they want online and enter a world dedicated to the book as well as the topic, perhaps even learn more about the author and about the environment of the text. The digital world is a vast world, but it allows a stronger sense of intimacy between a reader and a literary text, since it allows them to explore more from the text than what they would have explored if they had not used the digital sources when interpreting texts. This is why I would like to research how digital humanities expands the world of close reading and allows for their to be a deeper relationship between the reader and the text.



Ciccoricco , David. “The Materialities of Close Reading: 1942, 1959, 2009.” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: The Materialities of Close Reading: 1942, 1959, 2009, 2012,
Hicks, Troy. “Actually Achieving Close Reading With Digital Tools.” TeachThought, 11 Jan. 2016,
Jacqui. “3 Digital Tools to Encourage Close Reading.” Ask a Tech Teacher, 14 May 2015,
Schoenbart, Adam. “Improving Literacy with Technology: Close Reading and Argument with Newsela.” Tech Learning, 8 Apr. 2016,
Zorfass, Judy. “Using Technology to Support Close Reading.” Read Tech Matters Blog | Power Up What Works, 9 Oct. 2014,

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4 thoughts on “The Connection Between Digital Humanities and Close Reading

  1. This project seems to be focused on how to enhance (or teach) close reading through digital means, and I can imagine a theoretical component to the final paper. This is an appropriate topic! However, the proposal lacks specificity. What specific tool will you use to focus your attention (and those of students)? Something like or MIT’s Annotation Studio? Will you focus on a particular text, and if so, what/why? Even if you don’t imagine this as primarily a pedagogical project, you’ll want to have something to work with as an example.

  2. Good idea, but I am unsure what you are trying to achieve with this project. What tool would you use and how are you going to go about utilizing that tool to help students improve their close-reading? It would allow more interpretations into what annotations a digital copy presents and how those mold the reader’s understanding of the text.

  3. I like the simplicity of the subject, research on digital humanities that use close reading, it would be interesting to see what collorates between the two. I think, however, you can benefit the paper by giving an example of how “literary scholars view certain words, lines, passages and chapters.” You could possibly find a resource that exmeplifies or examines such close-reading by professionals or use a text to display your “own interpretations” of a text. I feel that might build your proposal further but otherwise a great start.

  4. Hussah, I am not sure if I understand where your proposal is going, although, like everyone else, I do your examination of close-reading. It sounds like you are arguing that digital tools benefit and allow for deeper understanding. I think an annotation tool would suit your project due to the scope of it because it allows for you to mark up the document as you work through it. Are you trying to learn more about the author or more about the text and how can digital humanities work better than simply working from the pages? Trying to aim for both would feel overwhelming in my opinion.

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