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Assignment 8: The Intended Audience

2 min read

Most of our exercises focused on understanding the novels and the literary trends of the 18th century. However, it is also important to understand the 18th century audience that the novels are trying to reach. From the metadata and through topic modeling, it is possible to better understand the intended audience or rather the point of view of the intended audience. Furthermore, as most of the novels we have read were published in 18th century Britain and during the era of the British Empire, it would be interesting to see the places that the novels mention, allowing us a better understanding of the world from the point of view of an 18th century Briton. I would create a map of “TitlePlaces” from the metadata, paying close attention to the locations that were mentioned the most in the metadata. If the novels were focusing on specific locations, it is possible that the audience could easily recognize or relate to those locations, as the authors would want their novels to relate to or influence the audience (e.g. Defoe mentions the “Brazils” and the plantations there to idealize the enslavement of the New World). Afterwards, using the Topic Modeling Tool, I would look for the names of the those locations. I would focus on finding any trends or patterns of words that are associated with popular locations (perhaps England is associated with “civilization” and Paris is associated with “progress”). The purpose of this research is to better understand an average 18 century reader, thereby giving us a better understanding of why authors chose certain techniques, locations, and themes in their novels.


Assignment 7: Amusing Gibberish

3 min read

I experimented with a few combinations of algorithms. Although some topics were complete gibberish, the few that did make sense were quite amusing and relatable. In fact, because there is no context at all, I just let my imagination take over, giving me an artificial realistic effect. Topic modeling allowed me to explore different ways of finding trends in the text. In thinking of “The Reality Effect”, the mixtures of seemingly random words actually stand out to give a unique sentence structure and a realistic effect. I found many topics with words that I could relate ideas, parts of history, and even novels to.

Topics //50 topics, 20 printed words, 1000 iterations -Wisdom: “love passion heart make happy real tender friendship lover loved sentiments knew moments sincerity inclinations consent indifference cruel letters hopes” -“Angela’s Ashes”: “child town mother married poor remember lay life friends husband pray wife work quit world died concluded cards nurse discovery”

It is amusing that some topics have fragments of sentences as it’s list of words. For example, I found the words of the first topic to be quite wise, in which “love” and “passion” do make “real tender friendship” and that “indifference” and “cruel letters” are detrimental to “hope”. The words of the second topic reminded me of a novel I read, “Angela’s Ashes”, in which Angela, the mother of the author, leads a tough life trying to take care of her children while living in poverty and a husband who is an alcoholic.

//40 topics, 10 printed words, 100 iterations -Group Project: ”life brought friends hands great fair idea proceeded weak advice” -War: “people war interest government troops expence favour measures law king” Live your Life: “leave world hope home coach love town evening live moment”

The third topic is best relatable in thinking of group projects. Especially in engineering labs, we have great ideas on designing circuits, but our methods and ways of implementation are rather “weak”. The fourth topic easily reminds me of old kings and disillusioned governments sending young soldiers to die in wars. The fifth topic reminds me of the song by Rihanna in which she reminds us to just live our lives for once, instead of being controlled by the countless pressures of life.

//30 topics, 10 printed words, 100 iterations -Artificial Creation: “man made time person called make lost place forward ran” -Life: “mind heart pleasure honour heaven give peace person friendship happiness” -Love: “love passion time answered mind made lover sense beauty affection”

//20 topics, 10 printed words, 100 iterations -Desire: “love pleasure long heaven left found passion beauty prevent desire”

The four topics above remind me of the desires of humans. We desire to have an enjoyable life, finding love and settling down. Yet, we limit ourselves with the artificial conception of time, which controls our lives, from when we wake up to when we die.

//10 topics, 10 printed words, 100 iterations -Freedom of Speech: “man favour voice heart heard person fear knew present longer”

This last topic reminds me of one of the strongest human desires: the need to speak our minds and follow our hearts, only fearing that our voices will be taken away.

Experimental Bibliographic Description Plan

1 min read

I am doing a descriptive bibliography of “Munster Village” by Lady Mary Walker. I find this novel to be quite progressive for its era, focusing on a utopian city in which there is emphasis on intellectual equality for both genders. Although some themes (such as kindness and virtue) are common features of many 18 century novels, the novel focuses on such attributes to both men and women, instead of emphasizing on virtue for women and intelligence for men. As bibliographies fulfill the role of providing a stronger context for the novel, I would like to base my experimental part of the descriptive bibliography to creating two visual images of such a utopian society: one that is 18th century and one that is 21st century.

Descriptive Bibliography

1 min read

Descriptive Bibliography. Walker, Lady Mary. Munster Village, a Novel. In Two Volumes. 1st ed. London: printed for Robson and Co. New Bond Street; Walter, Charing Cross; and Robinson, Paternoster Row, 1778.


Collation. 2 mo. Vol I. B-M4, O3 Vol II. B-R4.

Contents. Vol I. A1r: Title. B1r-O3v: Text. Vol II. A1r: Title. B1r-R4v: Text.

Pagination. I 205 p: II 262 p.

Notes. Notes. Sourced from the British Library. Digital facsimile retrieved from the Eighteenth Century Collections Online. British Library named author as Lady Mary Hamilton. Eighteenth Century Collections Online named author as Lady Mary Walker. First Person. Third Person.

Assignment 6: Metadata

The metadata allows us to better understand the details of the literary trend from 1770 to 1779. I wanted a visual of where most publishers congregated and was a little surprised as to the locations. The map of the publishing locations shows that most publishers resided in major cities such as Boston, Dublin, and London. A few publishers were from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Oxford, Cambridge, and Bath. It makes sense that there were many publishers in Dublin, as the city is a port and a centralized location in United Kingdom (making it easier to transport the books to the rest of the country). It also makes sense that London had many publishers, as London was the capital and close to the southern ports where the books could be shipped internationally. The same logic goes for Boston. However, I am surprised that some publishers resided in Bath, Cambridge, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Oxford. In my opinion, Manchester or Liverpool would have been a better choice than those place, as their locations are excellent for a more efficient distribution system of books. I would attribute their choice of location as to having to do with less business competition, as otherwise it would be an illogical choice in terms of having an efficient business. I do note that the metadata only accounts for a fraction of the novels published, indicating that the sample size is not sufficient for me to make firm conclusions.

On the jasondavies website, I initially made a map cloud of the narrative forms, expecting the top narrative forms to be in third person, first person, and epistolary. I was a little bit surprised that the third most popular narrative form was dramatic dialogue, as I expected that narrative form to be have been more popular in the 17th century. This word cloud did little justice to enhance my understanding of this literary period. So I proceeded to make a word cloud of “Title Nouns”. The most common title nouns were “Adventure”, “Memoir”, “History”, “Volume”, “Manner”, and “Letter”. All these title nouns made sense to me. Many of the male authors in the 18th century wrote about adventures, “embracing” their “masculinity”. Older authors tended to write memoirs, commemorating their lives and trying to justified that they had led fulfilling lives. As for “Volume”, we know that publishers tended to publish books in two or three volumes to increase profit and distribute easier. Lastly, “Manner” and “Letter” were consistent in respect to the epistolary form and the idea of virtue present in 18th century novels. Therefore, this word cloud reinforced my understanding of the 18th century literary period.

Assignment 5: Textual Data Mining

5 min read

The bibliography of British prose fiction from the 1776-1779 allows us to better understand the literary trend of this period. From this survey, we can compare and contrast the themes of each novel, identifying the “popular” tendencies of late 18th century writers. However, it is fascinating how the novels are classified. The novels, for which the authors remained anonymous, are at the front for each year’s classification Interestingly, most, if not all, anonymous authors are “ladies”, indicating of the stereotyped “domesticity” of women. In other words, many of the female authors chose not to be named in order to avoid attention of or harassment by men. The female authors chose to maintain their “virtue”, focusing on the ties between love and morality. In contrast, most male authors tended to write about adventures, playing into the stereotype of masculinity for the audience. However, what stood out were not the obvious trends that female and male writers were focusing on, but the cost of their novels. Most of the novels costed 5-6 shillings, with bounded novels costing more than their sewed counterparts. Since the average wages of skilled laborers were between 15 and 20 shillings per week, most novels costed about a third of a week’s salary. From our perspective, the novels either costed too much or the laborers were underpaid. Taking into factor that mass production of novels were present in the 18th century, I must support the idea that wages in the 18th century were vastly more unfair than today’s minimum wage. However, we cannot deduct from the fact that the evolution of technology since then made novels much cheaper and, therefore, easier to access for the public.

Analyzing the bibliography of Evelina, or, a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World, we can see that the author is Frances Burney and the publisher is T. Lowndes located in No. 77 in Fleet Street in London. Notably, T. Lowndes seems to have been a prestigious publisher, as the Garside entries show that he did publish many novels. The price of this novel is 7 shillings and 6 pence for a sewed copy and 9 shillings for a bound copy (a much higher price compared to that of other novels). We can see that Lowndes paid 20 guineas to Burney for the two volumes of the novel and published 500 copies. The bibliography also mentions that Burney was initially disappointed at the offered price, but was later “satisfied”. There is also a discrepancy in how many novels were initially published, as Burney claimed that 800 copies, not 500, were made. This bibliography seems to focus more on the relation on how the novel became published, rather than the content.

Using ECCO, I looked into Munster Village, Memoirs of the Countess D’Anois, Learning at a Loss, and The Unfortunate Union. Munster Village by Lady Mary Hamilton is about the divorced female characters of Munster Village. The novel seems to advocate for kindness, as the community survives upon it. However, this novel utilizes footnotes, which I hadn’t seen in older novels. I always thought footnotes originated with more modern novels. Memoirs of the Countess D’Anois is written by Henriette Julie de Castelnau Murat. Although dull, the novel does grant insight to the life of a countess in the 18th century. Notably, this novel does not highlight the virtue of women, but rather the whim. The countess is seemingly trying to explain her perspective in flirting with other men. Therefore, in a sense, this novel is the most realistic, as it chooses not to portray all women as virtuous and naive, but rather having actual desires. Learning at a Loss by Gregory Lewis Way does utilize an epistolary form, much like Evelina. However, all the characters seem to have the same personality, and is therefore hard to distinguish from one another. The Unfortunate Union by Anonymous is also in epistolary form and has a similar setting to Evelina. However this novel seems to advocate for virtue in young minds. As we can see from these novels, there is a general trend urging virtue and kindness, not necessarily towards females, but males as well.

Using ARTEMIS, I can see that this program would be especially useful to track down and analyze old novels. The ARTEMIS program seems to focus on visualizations of the results for the users, allowing them to conceptualize trends for selected terms. Term clusters seems to be like Voyant Tools, except looking at other categories such as authors instead of just the text. This tool especially allows us to see which literary technique (epistolary in this case) is popular in that era. Term frequency is wonderful for highlighting what terms are used as time periods change. Indepthly, this tool helps us analyze the trend of what content the authors are focusing (e.g. love for this era). We can see which words became popular and which became less used. Overall, the ARTEMIS visual graphs are user friendly and easy to interpret.


Assignment 4: Mass Production and Profit vs. Style and Authenticity

2 min read

I initially tried to use a PDF to Text converter on a random website. Yet, this attempt was useless, as the converter only copy and pasted the image of the PDF into Docx. Next, I used Adobe Acrobat DC to convert the PDF into Text. However, there were a plethora of errors to the point of the text being unreadable. For example, the s’s were being read as f’s. This error is excusable, since the s does look like a f even to the human eye. Additionally, the n’s were being read as 11’s, and the m’s were read as 111’s. Obviously, these mistakes are due to the font and style of 18th century novels. As technology evolved and books became mass produced, readability was favored over style, resulting in the modern fonts. The OCR programs are more programmed to handle modern fonts, leading to simple misinterpretations. Although these mistakes aren’t hard to correct, it is very tedious to fix them by hand. The ideal solution would be to use a self-learning Artificial Intelligence to correct the errors. As more files are processed, this ideal A.I. would increasingly “learn” to OCR the files as accurately as possible, even assimilating the font and style of 18th century novels. Nevertheless, as the current prototypes of A,I, aren’t advanced enough, the next best solution would be to use another program or a specialized plugin to aid in the conversion process.

A digital facsimile is more like a “memory” of the original copy, preserving the plot but discarding the specific details that make the novel unique. Although digital copies are more convenient, they are not tangible, just husks of physical copies. In order to better understand the relation between digital facsimiles and physical copies of books, think of photos. Although they capture the moment of a person’s past, they are lifeless. In the same sense, the font and style of the original book give a unique atmosphere to the audience; the contemporary versions of the text are only revisions of the original and lack authenticity.


Assignment 3: The Targeted Demographic

2 min read

Pamela is a novel that contributes to the Age of Enlightenment, emphasizing individualism over the traditional roles and authority. The word cloud shows more counts of terms of individualism (e.g. “lady”, “mind”, and “thought”) than terms of traditional roles and politics (e.g. “girl” and “God”), indicating that Pamela is an individualist and that there is a separation of gender and politics. However, the popularity of Pamela was due to its novelty, the succession of a girl of the lower class against a man of aristocracy (i.e. people identified with Pamela, the underdog). The word cloud reveals that the word “poor” is mentioned about 500 times, appealing to the lower class. The working and middle classes were enchanted with the notion of rising the socioeconomic ladder, against the forces of the aristocracy. However, this intended audience was most likely ignoring the ideas of breaking traditional roles mentioned in the novel. Therefore, we cannot state that Pamela exemplifies the Age of Enlightenment, only partially evolving it. We cannot state that Pamela spearheaded the way for other proto-feminist novels (which arrive about a 100 years later), only suggesting that women have strong desires. We cannot state that Pamela instigated ideas of going against traditional authority, only manipulating it.

I do concede that Pamela does encourage individualism over the established authority. In Desire and Domestic Fiction, Nancy Armstrong states that “In place of the intricate status system, that had long dominated British thinking, these authors began to represent an individual's value in terms of his, but more often in terms of her, essential qualities of mind” (467). Because Pamela is written in first person, the audience experience the novel through the actions and view of Pamela, gaining a strong individualistic sense. Expectedly, the word “I” is used about 10,000 times. This point of view alone allows for a better representation of Pamela and her values; Richardson wanted to break the idea of “domesticated women”, characterizing Pamela as intelligent and a freethinker. Looking back, his efforts were deemed as heresy and seemingly fruitless, as seen by Shamela in 1741 and the rise of the cult of domesticity in the 19th century.


Assignment 2: The "Known" World

2 min read

The My Maps algorithm added the data of associated countries into each row of locations. Initially, I suspected that the algorithm searched and linked each specific location to the most likely country. This process would allow the application to pinpoint each location on the map. However, there were many rows that were connected to the wrong countries, leading me to believe that the algorithm gives priority to the country of the user. For example, “Yorkshire” is placed in America, even though it should be placed in England. To the application, the location of the user is more important, and therefore the application believes that the user is referring to “Yorkshire” in America. Additionally, some of the locations such as “St. Martha” and “St. Salvador” are erred not because they are fictional, but because the names of these locations are too general, and are colonial names of towns or forts. However, some of the non-geocoded places were not placed due to being archaic terms, such as “East Indies”. Although the placements of some of the rows is an error in part of My Maps and outdated colonial names. A few errors are due to the NER algorithm. For example, “Bible” and “Blessed Virgin” should have been placed in organizations or one of the other classifiers.. The map of the delineated travels of Crusoe shows an old map of the “known” world, without much details of western North America. This map outlines the travel path of Crusoe, especially the routes he took to travel the trade world. Interestingly, this outlined map also shows the extent of imperialism by the European powers. Even in early 18th century, much of the European explored world were influenced by Spain, Portugal, and a few other European powers. The audience can get a better sense of how dominating Europe was in terms of trade and power. The My Maps version is better in showing the vast distances that Crusoe covered in his travels. To the audience, this version shows that Crusoe took on a portion of the world, rather than the entirety.


Assignment 1: Locations and Organizations

2 min read

According to the NER algorithm, locations and organizations, although different in denotation, are similar in connotation in the sense that they both represent the religious and imperialistic references in the text. Interestingly, locations seem to be more specific to the imperialistic references, while organizations seem to be more specific to the religious references. Notably, there are about five times more lines in locations than in organizations. Although the number of lines should not matter, it may indicate that the focus of the text is more intent on imperialism, rather than religion.

Mentioned in about 300 lines, the locations include Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and South and Central Americas. The vast number of locations conveys a feeling of enormity for the imperialistic world at that time. However, all these locations are of monotheistic faith. As Christian European powers colonized Africa and the Americas, they sought to spread Christianity, a further reason as to why religion and imperialism seem to be so closely tied in the text. This association between religion and imperialism can be exemplified by the inclusion of "Providence" as a location.

Surprisingly, NER classifies many places into organizations. Organizations include tagged words that relate to monotheism such as "Heaven", "Solomon", or "Temple". This consistency suggests that NER classifies religious references, including religious locations, into organizations. However, there are references to Islam such as "Moors of Sallee", highlighting how Europeans managed to convert much of southern Africa to Christianity, yet unable to convert northern Africa that was mainly Islamic.

My experience with NER was not graceful. I eventually had to re-path Java SE Development Kit into Environment Variables in order for the program to work. Before that revelation, I spent too much time on Window's cmd tool.


p. 2

1 min read

"He told me it was men of desperate fortunes on the one hand, or of aspiring, superior fortune on the other, who went abroad upon adventures; that these things were all either too far above me, or too far below me; that mine was the middle state, which he had found by long experience was the best state in the world."