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Exercise 8

2 min read

The corpus metadata we have at our disposal allows for us to ask a lot of interesting questions. For me, it was rather striking the change in title location names that were seen in this dataset. When mapping Robinson Crusoe, we saw a mostly Eurocentric distribution of countries, but now it seems a bit more widespread, particularly in the United States. But, this doesn't allow for a fully exhaustive analysis of the actual places mentioned in each book. Exercise 7 allowed for us to look at topics in the actual text, and we found that countries and characteristics of those countries (imperialism and England or dynasticism and China etc.) were often present. My question is looking into the locations of these novels (and possibly those mentioned) and how they change over time. I predict that early 18th novels like Robinson Crusoe are likely to have a very Eurocentric focus and be accompanied with topics of seafaring and imperialism whereas novels in the later 18th century would likely be more "worldly" and invoke countries and topics far beyond the reach of Europe. Also, it would be interesting to analyze how publication location fits into this. This dataset doesn't include many publication locations outside of London, but maybe with a more comprehensive list or looking further into the 19th century, we could see how novel publications outside of this area deal with location. I would imagine that other locations may focus on areas outside of British empire control, and deal with completely different topics.

To do this, I would use the Google Fusion metadata to tag title nouns, adjectives, and locations that are associated with a country or feature. Likewise, topic modeling of this corpus would reveal prevalent country related topics and what novels they correspond to. In this way, I could pinpoint which novels deal with what countries and topics and then place them in categories by their publication date. Also, adding in other publication locations into this same analysis would give us a bit more diversity. This could then be visualized in 10 or 20 year chunks to give an idea of how location and perception of location changed with respect to time and publication location.

Experimental Bibliography

2 min read

For my descriptive bibliography, I chose to do Clara Reeve's The Champion of Virtue. It has a beautiful frontispiece depicting a scene from the novel as well as a quote from Horace on the title page that translates to "Fictions meant to please should approximate the truth."

When considering what is missed by the traditional bibliography, I thought about plot, context, and visual depictions that would give more information than printed words. After a bit of research, I learned that the Champion of Virtue was republished in 1778, one year after its initial publishing, under the name the Old English Baron (which also edited by Samuel Richardson's daughter). This republishing has a preface that essentially outlines what Clara Reeve looked to accomplish in this novel. Both the Champion of Virtue and The Old English Baron are gothic novels based on the outline put out by Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, which is often attributed as the first gothic novel. Clara Reeve's preface to the Old English Baron tells the reader what her issues were with the gothic novel ideal that Walpole's novel laid out: it wasn't realistic. In Mckeon's terms, the gothic novel should be a mixing of both romance idealism and naive empiricism. The Castle of Otranto's extravagant, supernatural explanations for everything were not believable, making the novel too fictitious to be interesting. Reeve's preface says, "...the Castle of Otranto; a work which, as already has been observed, is an attempt to unite the various merits and graces of the ancient Romance and modern Novel.. Had the story been kept within the utmost verge of probability, the effect had been preserved, without losing the least circumstance that excited or detains the attention."

My idea is to compare and contrast, mostly quantitatively, the three novels noted above. Popularity rankings, TextWrangler lists, topic modeling, and other quantificational methods could help elucidate the "realistic" nature of each novel as well as showing their reception. My intention is to visualize several of these methods to show how each novel compares in terms of realism and hopefully place the Champion of Virtue in it's historical context as a defining novel in the creation of the gothic novel genre.

Topic Modeling

4 min read

50 Topics, 20 printed words, 100 iterations, full text -

Pamela Overview - "master mrs ll pamela good poor dear jewkes" Imperialism - "king english people army england country kingdom" Domesticity - "emily moment friendship heart woman tenderness women happy"

50 topics, 20 printed words, 100 iterations, chunks -

The "s" - "fo fuch fome faid fhe fee moft thefe ihe foon ed firft thofe" The Public sphere - "money proper interest fortune present public success state" Seafaring - "captain ship board made sea men wind place land shore" The house and private sphere - "night morning till bed day"

20 topic, 20 printed words, 1000 iterations, full text -

Letter writing - "letter page love dear adieu life"

I thought that this was an incredibly interesting assignment. It was pretty eye opening to see lots of rather strong and thought provoking topics come out of this wholly syntactic algorithm as well as some rather humorous topics to see where the program failed. I chose to tinker around a bit with the settings and see how exactly it would affect the outputs. For the most part, many of the same reoccurring themes, as noted above, came up in all contexts. Seafaring, imperialism, English nationalism, domestic items and ideas, women, letter writing, and many other rough topics would appear in nearly all of the constraints that I could conjure up. Interestingly, lessening the number of topics produced seems to produce topics that are more diverse and difficult to interpret. This isn't too surprising, seeing as limiting the number of topics would force some words to go together that possibly wouldn't in the case of a larger survey (I'm still a bit fuzzy on the specifics so maybe I have this a bit mixed up). But, something that struck me as slightly odd was the constant reoccurrence of topics in which the only discernible theme was the modified "s" character. I guessed this is likely because some novels use this character and some do not, so the ones that did would have those terms grouped together often. But, this wouldn't explain why nearly all of the words in the topic contain this character. Also, the breakdown of these topics seems to include an even number of references in all of the novels, suggesting that it may not be due to this focusing of the elongated "s" character in some novels.

These topics certainly showed some of the ideas we have seen portrayed in the readings. For example, one of Nancy Armstrong's main arguments in Desire and Domestic Fiction was that the creation of female subjectivity in novels challenged social norms and produced a new form of the novel. We see that several topics (Domesticity above) group women with the domestic realm and characteristics that we would define as psychological rather than political, thus creating this gender divide that she references. Likewise, Habermas argues that the division of the public and private sphere is something that can be seen in the architecture of houses in this time period. The division creates a divide between public and private that has political and economic repercussions. Several topics engage entirely with the idea of the house and family, while others that discuss money and power are grouped solely with the public sphere. With regards to "The Reality Effect," the topics essentially make up this eclectic (with some level of order) mixture of words and ideas that theoretically can be used to construct whole novels. In this way, we see many topics that are collections of nouns that seem meaningless - possibly interpreted as residue from realistic portrayals of the world. References to names, times, places without any sort of context seems to be, in essence, the reality effect.

Descriptive Bibliography

1 min read

Reeve, Clara. The Champion of Virtue, A Gothic Story. 1st ed. Colchester: Keymer, 1777; London: Robinson, 1777.

The | Champion of Virtue. | A | Gothic Story. | By the Editor of the Phoenix; | A Translation of | Barclay's Argenis. | [Rule, 8mm] | Ficta voluptatis causa sint proxima-veris. | Horace. | [Rule, 8mm] | Printed for the AUTHOR, | By W. Keymer, Colchester, and sold by him; | Sold also by G. Robinson, No. 25, Pater- | noster-Row, London. | M.LCC.LXXVII.

Collation vii, 190 p. 12mo.

Contents i Frontispiece. ii Half Title. iii Title Page. A1r-A4r Preface. B1r-R5v Text.

Notes Sourced from the British Library. Digital facsimile retrieved from Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Horace Translation, "Fiction meant to please should approximate the truth." First page of novel contains frontispiece depicting Page 67 of the novel with a quote. Novel was republished titled The Old English Barron in 1778.

Exercise 6

2 min read

Google Fusion showed a few trends, none of which were novel in our analysis. For example, the number of novels produced each year seemed to increase until around 1770, and then subsequently decrease through the remaining years of the dataset. Also apparent, we see that epistolary and first person novels are by far the most prevalent narrative forms, and duodecimo is the dominant publishing format. The filter function on Google Fusion allows for a bit more in depth analysis to be done. I found that varying several factors across publication date can show some interesting trends. For one, the proportion of octavo published novels to duodecimo published novels seemed to decrease as we move further into the 18th century. Obviously the gaps in the data make it difficult to draw conclusions, but this may suggest that publishers were responding to the increase in novel output by trying to publish novels on less pages than they would previously use, therefore saving money. Likewise, the appearance of publications in Dublin (which as we discussed in class were often of poor quality or fake publications altogether) coincided with the increase in novel output around 1770, also suggesting a propensity towards cost-cutting during the novel's highest years. The overall gaps as well as the lack of representation of early 18th century in this dataset makes it rather difficult to work with. If we had more constant numbers across years and more overall data, then both of these temporal changes would be interesting to investigate further.

Exercise 5

4 min read

There are several interesting trends that this collection of bibliographies can tell us about the novel. First, this seems to be a moment where there is a shift in the focus from authorial anonymity to almost a highlighted importance of the author, or at least the author's gender and social status. Many of the author's are anonymous, as was the case with Robinson Crusoe and other early novels. This anonymity suggests that the author's identity still wasn't too important to the public, who were likely more interested in the story itself. But, we also see some novels highlight the author's name, or more interestingly their gender, in the title. In this same vein, this seems to be a transitionary moment for the detail contained in the title itself. Some titles are rather succinct whereas others have an entire plot summary contained within them (as was the case with Robinson Crusoe). Many of the titles are "The History of..." while others highlight the fictitious name and story of the main character. These seem to exemplify the idea of the novel being this new genre focused on an individual and telling the story that you wouldn't hear from anyone else's perspective. It also furthers this idea of the novel attempting to be a real-life account of a real person's life, rather than the fictitious person that is truly outlined. Some of the longer titles still focus on the virtuous and honorable nature of the text. Sort of in the same way that Pamela's title page preemptively defends it from being persecuted as distasteful, these novels highlight how good reading the book is for the reader (i.e. - The Trip to Melasge; or, concise instructions to a young gentleman entering into life with his observations on the genius, manner, ton, opinions, philosophy, and morals, of the Melasgens). Others focus on the narrator and style of novel itself. This along with the vast majority of the novels being of epistolary form suggests that the novelists still feel a need to highlight the introspective nature of the novel's narrator.

For the ECCO, I decided to look at The History of Miss Harriot Fairfax, A Trip to Melasge, Coxheath-Camp, and The Surry Cottage. First, it's worth noting that each of these novels' titles contain information that make them unique. So, I wanted to look at how the title page displays these different pieces of information. The History of Miss Harriot Fairfax contains the entire plot summary, The Surry Cottage has the author's name in the title, Coxheath-Camp's title says that it is a novel written in letters by a lady with an anonymous author and A Trip to Melasge's gives a virtuous explanation similar to a conduct book in the line of Pamela. Evelina's title page is rather sparse: it highlights Evelina's name and her ENTRANCE into the WORLD without noting an author or narration style. All of the other novel's clearly state the audience and/or the narrator on the title page. That seems to be a major part of the title page in this era, and it seems to further this idea of focusing on the individual. The lack of an author on all of the novel's also seems to lend weight towards this idea that each story is factual (or at least should be perceived as possibly being based in reality). Even the History of Miss Harriot Fairfax puts the summary in such small font that it doesn't really feature on the title page.

I mostly was looking into the titles and the content contained in them (i.e. style, narrator, audience, author, plot summary etc). So, for the ARTEMIS searched, I attempted to isolate titles by using very specific terms unique to titles. When searching history and life in the term cluster, most of the results are titles that contain "the history of..." or "the life of...". So I searched "The history of" and "In a series of Letters" to see how common these were in titles for each year. Unsurprisingly, they were very common, and showed a small spike around the 1770s.

Assignment 3

First, I found reading through the Table of Contents itself rather interesting. It is told by a third person, omniscient narrator that portrays both the events each letter/segment but also adequately conveys the emotions and ideas that the readers gather by reading Pamela's own writing. I found it to be actually quite informative and it is interesting to consider the audience that it was targeting at the time. Was it used as a reminder of the course of events and the typical means of locating a passage of interest in the book, or more so as an abridged version of the novel itself meant to be read independently.

On to the Voyant exercise, as many people have noted, most of the words that are most frequently seen in the novel (actions and titles aside) are virtues and qualities that one would expect to see in a conduct book. My immediate reaction is that the frequency of words like "good," "happy," "honor," "kind" etc. highlights this aspect of the book being a virtuous novel meant to "cultivate the principles of virtue and religion in the minds of the youth of both sexes." A vast majority of the most frequent words are positive, as listed above, thus suggesting that these are the main virtues that the novel is focusing on and attempting to cultivate.

The ease by which Voyant can thoroughly analyze an entire text is incredibly fascinating and makes this assignment rather interesting. I found that tracking the use of "Pamela" throughout the novel showed some interesting trends. Aside from addressing or signing the letters, a vast majority of the usages of "Pamela" were self-pitying remarks (i.e. "poor Pamel" or "hopeless Pamela"). This was something that I noticed while reading the novel as well, but looking through the specific usages of the word itself highlighted the self-pitying nature of her character at times. It also reminded me of scenes from Robinson Crusoe in which he pities his condition. We had talked about Robinson Crusoe being either very happy with his situation or woefully disappointed with it. Looking through the Voyant produced list of Pamela's name, I found a similar trend in that Pamela either refers to herself (or others refer to her) as "dutiful Pamela," "grateful Pamela," or "pretty Pamela." I'm not entirely sure what to make of this, but it does seem to create this air of pity around the main character as well as harkening back to the structure we saw in Defoe.

A lot of my first thoughts regarding the map we generated with the location data is similar to what was previously mentioned. For one, the map view of the locations, even without the 17 errors, I think really drives home the idea of the sheer number of locations mentioned in the novel. But, contrary to what I had written in my last blog post, the mentions of locations of this book are simply that, just mentions of the locations. Reading further into the novel, we see that Crusoe visits very few of these locations, and is mostly referring to them in talk. Cody's idea that this novel is not globalized but rather globally aware is not only hilarious but really spot on when looking at this map. Furthermore, we can see the colonialist aspects of this book when viewing the distribution of locations of the map. We see a geographical focus on the European, colonial superpowers and then spotty references or visits to their colonies across the West African seaboard and the Americas. Also, the Great River being placed in Thailand made me smile.