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Our Project

Page history last edited by Alan Liu 8 years, 10 months ago


Comparing Children's and Adult Fiction of the 1880s:

An Undergraduate Distant Reading Project


Project Overview

English 197 Project CollageWe focused on comparing British children's and adult's fiction from the 1880s. The materials for our class project consists of a corpus of 134 British, American, and other children's fictional works published between 1880 and 1889, plus a comparison corpus of 451 British novels intended for adults published in the same years.1  Applying various text analysis methods as well as topic modeling, we explored the following issues (out of many that could have been chosen):


  • Differences between female and male-authored novels.
  • Differences between the way "boys" and "girls" are portrayed in the novels (e.g., how the words "won't" and "don't" co-occur with each).
  • Differences between children's and adult fiction in general.


In particular, our text analysis team used such tools as Voyant and Antconc to study the behavior of particular words in the children's corpus; and also used the tools to look more at many individual novels.  Our topic modeling team created topic models (300 topics in each) for specific segments of our corpora in order to compare the top themes in the children's and adult works.




  • Class Members
    • Lindsay Blackie
    • Jennifer Chang
    • Ginny Chung
    • Maithy Do
    • Ashley Jeun
    • Alec Killoran
    • Eve Kopecky
    • Sinead Leon
    • Aaron Woldhagen
    • Instructor: Alan Liu



Notes and Acknowledgements


1. Works in our children's literature corpus came from Project Gutenberg's "Children's Bookshelf" category.  We drew works of fiction (mostly novels, but including some short fiction) from all the subcategories on that bookshelf, constraining our selection to works published in the 1880s.  Works in our adult fiction corpus came from the corpus of 2,731 nineteenth-century British novels given to us by the Stanford Literary Lab (originally gathered by the Lab from the Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg). (Our thanks to Ryan Heuser of the Stanford Literary Lab.) We constrained our selection to male and female authored novels of the 1880s.


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