Jean-Baptiste CAMPS

Jean-Baptiste CAMPS

École nationale des Chartes, Paris Sciences & Lettres (PSL)

Jean-Baptiste Camps is Associate Professor in Computational Philology at the École nationale des chartes, Paris Sciences & Lettres and principal investigator of the European project LostMA (The Lost Manuscripts of Medieval Europe: Modelling the Transmission of Texts). He obtained his PhD from Paris-Sorbonne in 2016, on the digital critical edition of an Old French epic (“Chanson d’Otinel”), under the supervision of Dominique Boutet, and his habilitation in the École normale supérieure in 2023. His areas of interest include digital ecdotics and deep learning as well as computational text analysis and stemmatology. With Ariane Pinche and Thibault Clérice, he won the 2019 Fortier Prize of the Digital Humanities Conference for “Stylometry for Noisy Medieval Data”. His stylometric research also appeared in Science Advances, other journals and in a book co-written with Florian Cafiero (“Affaires de style”, 2022). Currently, he leads investigations at the intersection of historical and biological methods, on the transmission of culture and texts, and on the factors of evolution, survival or extinction of literary works.

Computational Methods and Old Manuscripts

The written culture of Antiquity and the Middle Ages has been transmitted to us mostly through handwritten documents. Contrarily to a widespread idea, a substantial part of it remains poorly kown. Today, computational methods offer new windows into the cultures of the past: artificial intelligence allows to quickly transcribe and annotate vast collections of manuscripts, while quantitative analysis sheds light on the origin of the texts. In the future, methods akin to those of evolutionary biology or ecology could help understanding the macro-evolutionary processes leading to the survival or extinction of past works of literature and of wide swathes of our human cultural heritage.