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Exercise 8

2 min read

I have been thinking a lot about novels’ consciousness and narration as I have been planning my final paper, and in particular I have been concerned with shifts in these areas in novels at different times throughout the rise of the novel. If we are meant to use the novel metadata file on the Github, I think we might be able to use topic modeling to explore these relationships. Obviously, topic modeling would not match specific years with narrative form or something like that, even though looking at specific dates, perhaps on a line graph, might be the easiest way to examine these shifts. Instead, I think you could do a topic modeling exercise where you use that metadata file and look at matchups between narrative form and the types of titles/words in titles. My research question would essentially be: “how can we look at shifts in narration and novels’ consciousness of its form and fictionality in a non-numeric way?” Like I said, I think we could examine this question by topic modeling the co-occurrence of certain narrative forms and book titles. For instance, we would probably see lists that grouped epistolary, first-person novels with long titles such as “the history of so-and-so” with lots of extra details included in the title. This would be contrasted with lists of more advanced narrative techniques with less laboriously-detailed and formulaic book titles. The difference between these various sets of co-occurring topics would hopefully reveal a shift in the way novels describe and think about themselves externally, in the title, and internally, in the narration.