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Reviews

"An innovative work that substantially advances disciplinary conversation, both methodologically and through its specific historical insights, Cyberformalism is marked by its fundamental originality and magisterial treatment of a digital topic."

"Cyberformalism brilliantly shows how recovering the history not of words but of linguistic structures—such as '[act] as if X' (which leads deep into the history of thinking about belief, action, and identity)—strikingly expands the possibilities of cultural analysis and gives us an exciting new discipline."

"'What would [Jesus] do?' In mapping transformations of partly filled linguistic templates like this counterfactual question, Daniel Shore invents a brilliant new way to do intellectual history. Cyberformalism teaches us to probe deeply into how language works and to exploit the extraordinary power of advanced digital searching."

"Daniel Shore's beautifully written and closely argued study matters: in showing how language is made up of more than words, and how its forms can become the subject of digital inquiry, Shore has done something that literary studies very much needs, connecting modern linguistics to the best kinds of literary history, as well as to the histories of rhetoric and of religious belief. Shore's book is one of very few digital humanist works I can recommend enthusiastically to poets, and to poetry critics; it does not disappoint."

"Objections such as these open theoretical cans of worms — yet they also validate Shore's project, simply by reflecting his deep engagement with ultimate humanistic concerns. Cyberformalism acknowledges that the subjective contemplation and discussion of meanings and values is not just one disposable strand in humanities research; instead, it is paramount to the philologist's vocation... Many of us will then thank Daniel Shore for having set forth a vision of the digital humanities that puts the human first, the data science second, rather than the other way around."

"Shore's charge that we move from investigating discrete linguistic signs to combinatory linguistic forms is illuminating and will appeal to general readers as well as those specifically interested in digital humanities, English literary history, theology, grammar, and linguistics... Shore's scholarly range in this book is tremendous. He moves from contemporary digital technology to constructivist grammar to the niceties of seventeenth-century theology with ease, and so does the reader."

"This is exciting work: Shore's process of discovery reads, in part, as detective fiction... The method outlined and the conclusions Shore draws are convincing: this is a smart piece of research which may be the first in a new generation of works in computational literary studies—works which are more humanized, and which foreground both the text and the reader."