15.331 worth of unexpected results?

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 03:40:49 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 331.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 08:37:42 +0100
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: unexpected results

      From time to time when I am looking on the Web for the source of a
    specific sequence of words, I notice in passing, especially when I am
    unsuccessful, that the misses are actually quite interesting. This leads me
    to ask if anyone has followed the deviating paths which these misses suggest.

    I invite you to try the following experiment. Use www.google.com to search
    for this sequence of words (without the quotation marks): "mind true things
    by what their mockeries be". Is there a name for the set of things such an
    operation turns up? An internet intertext? internetext? an echo of the
    totality of verbal meaning?

    In my example, it's interesting to look at what causes so many religious
    texts to surface -- I note St Augustine's City of God and his Confessions,
    an Amerindian spiritual account, a treatise on theosophy, a passage from
    Sirach, several personal meditations and so on. It begins to look like
    whatever this participial phrase means in its original context --
    Shakespeare's Henry V -- intertextually it has a strong religious undertone.

    Again my question is, has anyone carried such experiments further? If so,
    are there rewards sufficient for the effort?


    Dr Willard McCarty / Senior Lecturer /
    Centre for Computing in the Humanities / King's College London /
    Strand / London WC2R 2LS / U.K. /
    +44 (0)20 7848-2784 / ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/

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