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Exercise 8

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Inspired by Habermas's arguments regarding individual subjectivity and private writing oriented towards an other, I would be interested in tracking instances in a group of 18th-century novels composed of letters of times direct address to a recipient appears, and how the frequency of these occurrences changes over time. To what degree are letters simply diary entries with a recipient's name at the top, or news reports, and to what degree is the recipient an important and relevant part of the discourse? Is the letter a monologue or interaction with an imagined other? I would want to track instances of the use of the word "you" within letters, as well as the use of rhetorical questions ending with a question mark, and see if a pattern emerges over time. Both topic modeling and metadata would be useful in putting together the variables of direct address and date of publication of the novel.