From an article in the New York Times (October 30, 2017) about the literary critic Franco Moretti and his "distant reading" - the computer-assisted crunching of thousands of texts at a time:
... even modest-seeming results — like the finding that from 1785 to 1900 the language of the British novel steadily shifted away from words relating to moral judgment to words associated with concrete description — unsettle established ideas of literary history.
Ted Underwood, a professor at the University of Illinois who also uses computational analysis, commented:
“We tend to see literary history as a story of movements, periods, sudden revolutions,” Mr. Underwood said. “There are also these really broad, slow, massive changes that we haven’t described before.”
Another way to think about the history of visual art, too.