The Augmented Criticism Lab is a digital initiative that investigates the relationship between computational literary studies and traditional philology. Building on theories of corpus linguistics, algorithmic criticism, and scalable reading, we strive for an augmented criticism—a brand of literary investigation that boasts a distinct blend of computational processes and artful introspection.

For example, our Rhetorical Schematics Project detects and analyzes rhetorical figures in a corpus of over 400 early modern plays. Computer technology accelerates an otherwise painstaking process of identifying, listing, and organizing phrases. The scope of literary analysis can thus be augmented by technology, but reading is still a distinctly human activity rather than a prodigious task we can outsource to a machine. Computers can only assist us insofar as we already know and can describe precisely what we are looking for. In other words, our lab does not build reading robots; it enables readers to become augmented.

The Augmented Criticism Lab is based at the University of Calgary, but its team members and advisors are scattered across the planet. We’re always looking for new collaborations and partnerships, so let us know what research questions you’re asking and how we might work together to answer them.