One of the advantages of using computational methods to analyze literature is that you can see patterns in a book that you simply couldn’t easily see otherwise. That’s true for one work. But it’s especially true when looking at multiple works. Let me show you with Shakespeare.
In the multi-chart image below, you see the way two keywords are used in all of Shakespeare’s works. What do you observe? And, if you really want to have fun: What two words might they be and why?
You will quickly see that by using data to think about books, we can quickly ask critical questions about literature and authors’ writing choices.
(Hit me up on social media to find out what keywords the purple and green lines represent.)
In the coming months, I hope to make this tool operational so anyone can use it. For the moment, there is so much data that it crashes on me. What’s too much? About 16,000 words tallied for 5 acts in 38 plays. So over 3 million data points. Not unmanageable nor even big data (remember: I don’t have formal computer science training), just bigger data than I’m used to and requiring a bit up-skilling on my part!