A bit about me and Reading Madrid

¡Hola! I am Megan Cytron, an American (soon to be Spanish) citizen who has been living in Spain for 15 years. I am currently a fourth-year doctoral candidate at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain, where I also completed a five-year licenciatura (BA and MA) in Spanish Philology.

My story is, perhaps, a bit different from most other digital humanists, as I returned to academics after having worked in the tech field. I graduated from college with an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Linguistics just as the internet was taking off. My liberal arts training served me well and I have spent my career working mainly with US-based tech companies, oscillating between editorial work and programming (PHP, SQL, XML, etc.).

Over the past ten years, I returned to the academic sphere to study Spanish Philology in Madrid. At the same time, I was also working as the Managing Editor of a story-based travel app created by the founders of Twitter. The nature of my work made me acutely aware of the valuable data that could be captured in the works I was studying, in particular, the interconnected spatial and geographic data. The traditional European approach to literary and linguistic criticism appealed to me as a powerful analog form of data mining, but I felt a strong imperative to use my programming knowledge to capture this “philological” data and map it for future scholars.

My dissertation is a spatial analysis of the postwar novel Tiempo de silencio by Luis Martín- Santos. My work delves into the interplay between fiction and geography (both physical and human) and how this novel, in particular, meditates on the very peculiar topography, geographic, and social realities of postwar Madrid, while also alluding to metaliterary spaces from a variety of sources (Don Quixote, Ulysses, As I Lay Dying, Fortunata y Jacinta, Luces de Bohemia, to name a few). I am using TEI/XML, Xquery/XSLT/ExistDB, PHP/Python, R Studio/Leaflet/Shiny, QGIS, among others, to capture the novel’s complex, intertextual spatial and geographic data and map these overlapping spaces.

As such, I have amassed a large corpus of encoded 19th- and 20th-century Spanish novels set in Madrid. My data has many stories to tell! (Find me on twitter: @readingmadrid @megancytron)