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Debates in the Digital Humanities$
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Matthew K. Gold

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677948

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677948.001.0001

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Unseen and Unremarked On: Don DeLillo and the Failure of the Digital Humanities

Unseen and Unremarked On: Don DeLillo and the Failure of the Digital Humanities

(p.187) Chapter 11 Unseen and Unremarked On: Don DeLillo and the Failure of the Digital Humanities
Debates in the Digital Humanities

Mark L. Sample

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines how digital humanities have failed scholars of Don DeLillo or other contemporary fiction. The most promising, rewarded, or recognized work in the digital humanities has centered upon texts and artifacts in the public domain, which have been subjected to numerous and competing forms of digitization. But what if you study a living novelist, whose works are most decidedly copyrighted? What if you research a living novelist, whose life’s work resides not on hard drives but in boxes and boxes of notes, drafts, and manuscripts? It is argued that the failure of the digital humanities is not the failure to be able to do with DeLillo what we can do with Whitman or Blake. The failure is simply that nobody is talking about this disconnect. If the digital humanities are to be the future of the humanities, then we should be talking about what it means that a significant group of contemporary writers and thinkers are not a part of this future. The chapter also presents the imagination of a world in which the digital humanities could lend its considerable institutional and collaborative weight to the study of DeLillo’s fiction.

Keywords:   Don DeLillo, digital humanities, fiction, copyright, public domain, public access

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