Corporate Style: The Effect of Comp Titles on Contemporary Literature with Laura McGrath

Lecture | October 4 | 5:30-7 p.m. | Stephens Hall, 220 Geballe Room

 Laura McGrath, Stanford University, Literary Lab

 Digital Humanities at Berkeley, D-Lab, Department of Comparative Literature, Information, School of, Library, Townsend Center for the Humanities

More than bestseller lists of academic consecration via syllabi, "comps" (short for "comparative titles") represent the most significant metric of literary value in contemporary publishing. Comps are identified by editors in the acquisition process to predict a book's performance on the market and are often the deciding factor in a new acquisition. In this talk, McGrath will use large-scale computational methods to analyze comp title data obtained from publishers' quarterly catalogues between 2013-2019. She shows how comps produce and replicate "corporate style," not only limiting what--and who--is published, but defining literary style in the contemporary. Laura McGrath is the Associate Director of the Stanford University Literary Lab.