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Assignment 6

One thing I learned from the publication date bar graph is that most of the novels in the collection were published after 1740. This could be because either more novels were published after that date or because fewer of the novels published before 1740 were collected. The narrative form pie chart was also really interesting. The top three forms seem to be “third person”, “epistolary", and “first person”. This suggests that the epistolary form was popular, as was suggested before in previous exercises.

After that, I used a word cloud to look at the titles of the novels. Frequent words seem to be “adventures”, “history”, “volumes”, “Miss”, “Lady”, “Written”, “Memoirs”, “Vol”, “Edition”, “Life”, “Spy" and “Travels”. The words “Miss” and “Lady” suggest a female protagonist, while the words “history”, “life”, and “memoirs” suggest that the novel focuses on the protagonist’s private life. It would be unsurprising if these latter words were also associated with a female protagonist, as one of the popular novel forms seen so far seems to be about a lady’s inner or private life or thoughts. Back to the list of frequent words, the word “written” is rather interesting. One thing it could mean is that author anonymity is becoming less and less frequent. It could mean instead that the title page insists the novel is written by the protagonist, or that the novel is written by a lady (who may remain unnamed). It would be interesting to go back and look whether the word “written” corresponds to a named author or an anonymous one. One of the words that surprised me was “spy”, as it doesn’t seem suited to an epistolary novel or necessarily to an adventure novel. It could be that novels about spies are also becoming popular, although I don’t think it’s a subject/genre we’ve really looked at before.