Mapping the Literary Railway

Project Lead:

Paul Youngman, Professor of German

Team:

Student contributors:
Gabrielle Tremo, Research Assistant (2014)
Ulemj Enkhbold (Lenny), Research Assistant (2015, 2016)
Elizabeth J. Stanton, Research Assistant (2015)
Ben Fleenor, Research Assistant (2016)

Advisory Board:
Jeff Barry, Associate University Librarian
Mackenzie Brooks, Digital Humanities Librarian
Alston Cobourn, Digital Scholarship Librarian

Project URL: http://literaryrailway.academic.wlu.edu/

Project Description:

The goal of “Mapping the Literary Railway” (MLR) is to demonstrate the idea that visualization is interpretation. To this end, we have taken the traditional humanities research conducted by Professor Youngman for his monograph Black Devil and Iron Angel: The Railway in 19th-Century German Literature (Washington, DC: Catholic UP 2005) and applied spatial humanities techniques to his conclusions.

Recognition:

Attended Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship, July 2015
Washington and Lee University press coverage

Publications:

Youngman, Paul, et al. “Visualizing the Railway Space in Fontane’s Effi Briest.” TRANSIT 10, no. 2 (2016).

Methodology: mapping, Neatline, and Omeka

German 403: Independent Study

In this Fall 2013 Independent Study course, Katie Jarrell and John Bruch began The Leipziger Illustrite Zeitung Project, under the guidance of Professor Paul Youngman.  This project focuses on photography and imagery in an illustrated newspaper, published in Leipzig, Germany from 1843-1944. The basis of our project was to create an online, public database of the photographs, since the LIZ is rich with interesting photos. To do this, we scanned each photograph and made an online archive using Omeka. In this digital archive, photos are tagged based on theme, location, and symbolic meaning. After completing the photo database, we also added the photos to Neatline, a digital mapping device. By choosing to color-code each photo thematically, we were able to use Neatline to view trends in the photos as they correlate to certain cities or countries. What we found was both expected and surprising. The current project focuses on the first two volumes of November 1935, although we hope to expand both the Omeka archive and the Neatline map to include many more of the available volumes.