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CESTA Seminar with Dr. Laura McGrath of the Literary Lab

October 9, 2018 - 12:00pm

Comp Titles, Computation, and Contemporary Literature

More than bestseller lists or 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 catalogs, 2013-2017; she shows how comps produce and replicate “corporate taste,” not only limiting what—and who—is published, but defining literary style in the contemporary. 

This event belongs to the following series