Global Viral Texts: Mapping the Circulation of Nineteenth-Century Newspaper Literature across Oceans and Languages


ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships




The Viral Texts project leverages sophisticated text mining tools to identify widely -reprinted texts, unknown a priori, from large-scale archives of historical newspapers and magazines. In early experiments these methods uncovered thousands of “viral texts” in antebellum American newspapers, most of which are unfamiliar to literary scholars or historians of the period. During the fellowship period, the Viral Texts project will expand to explore transoceanic and translingual reprinting through the nineteenth century among periodicals in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and German-speaking countries. A global Viral Texts project will offer insight into how ideas in the nineteenth century crossed oceans and languages, and how these acts of transmission and translation shaped Americans’ understanding of their place in the world.