'Literary Criticism in the Age of EEBO' - The Plumer Lecture in Early Modern English Literature

Just as new historicists used expanded access to archives in the past, today digital humanists use expanded access to their contents. Calling this moment “the Age of EEBO” invokes a flagship project to digitize microfilms of early English printed books and to make their language machine-readable. I use EEBO to illustrate how literary critics have used textual evidence in the past, how we use it now, and how in the future we should combine our persuasive, discursive interpretations with the rhetoric of more empirical evidence. The result will be more compelling, categorical knowledge of early modern texts and their forms, moods, and genres.