Stanford Literary Lab uses digital humanities to study why we feel suspense

Stanford English Professor Mark Algee-Hewitt and a team of eight graduate students combine digital tools of textual analysis with the emotional experience of reading to uncover what creates suspense in stories.

The Humanities at Stanford

You’re sitting on the edge of your seat. Your heart starts racing. You scream aloud, “Don’t open that door!”

We all know the feeling of suspense. But why do we experience such an intense emotion when reading a book?

This is the question that the Stanford Literary Lab’s project on suspense has set out to answer using the tools of digital humanities. The project is led by Stanford English Assistant Professor Mark Algee-Hewitt, and involves a team of eight graduate students from the English Department. More…

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