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Hello there...

I'm Fitz. I'm a PhD candidate in English at Northeastern University interested in Literary Journalism—particularly the significant role women writers played in its nineteenth century origins—and Digital Humanities. I'm also a freelance journalist and web developer. This site is home to a blog, links to some of my publications, and my CV. Thanks for stopping by. Read more...

Recent Blog Posts

  • The Continuous Line: Visualizing the History of American Literary Journalism

    The following is an adapted version of a work-in-progress talk that I gave at The Twelfth International Conference for Literary Journalism Studies in Halifax, Nova Scotia on May 11, 2017. Video here.

    TL;DR: I built an online database of works of and about literary journalism, available at ljbib.jonathandfitzgerald.com.

    In thinking about how to frame this particular work in progress that I’m presenting here today, as well as the larger work that it is a part of (namely, my dissertation), I realized that they are both responses to particular challenges. Let me explain. When I began my study of literary journalism, I arrived first, as I’m sure many others did as well, at Norman Sims’ seminal book True Stories. In lieu of a master class on literary journalism, this book serves the purpose for many of us.

  • Computationally Classifying the Vignette Between Fiction and News

    The following is a companion to a paper that Ryan Cordell and I will be presenting at the upcoming ALA 2016 Symposium, The American Short Story: An Expansion of the Genre. Our paper is titled “Vignettes: Micro-Fictions in the Nineteenth Century Newspaper” and in it we discuss the vignette as an essential genre in antebellum American letters, both influential in the development of sentimental fiction and a precursor to the prose writing later styled “literary journalism.” In preparation for the presentation, I’ve been computationally classifying vignettes in an effort to affirm their hybrid status.

    We entered into this project with the notion of vignette as hybrid genre and much of my effort to classify genre within our corpus has been an attempt to bring to the surface some of these harder to classify genres. In an effort, then, to consider the hybrid nature of the vignette, I’ve been attempting to use computational classification methods to place it on a spectrum between news and fiction.

  • What Made the Front Page in the 19th Century?: Computationally Classifying Genre in 'Viral Texts'

    The following is a lightly revised version of the text of a talk I gave at the 2016 Keystone Digital Humanities Conference, held at the University of Pittsburgh. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to present and for the helpful feedback I received there.

    I’m happy to be with you today on behalf of the Viral Texts Project, a project of the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks at Northeastern University. The Viral Texts Project was initiated by Professors Ryan Cordell and David Smith as a way to computationally discover reprinted texts in nineteenth century newspapers.

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