Keywords of Dracula

After experimenting with the many different types of graphs and strings of data, I wanted to see how which keywords appear the most from certain dates of the text. I thought it was interesting that October 3rd and September 29th had a high volume of these keywords present. Although it can be hard to read I thought the sunburst chart best demonstrated this distribution of these keywords. The keywords I chose were; voluptuous, blood, dark, vampire, and monster.

 

After experimenting with the many different types of graphs and strings of data, I wanted to see which keywords appeared the most in certain dates from the text. I thought it was interesting that October 3rd and September 29th had a high volume of these keywords present. Although it can be hard to read I thought the sunburst chart best demonstrated this distribution of these keywords. The keywords I chose were; voluptuous, blood, dark, vampire, and monster.

Speakers and Recievers in Dracula

During my reading of Dracula, I took notice of how many times the female narrators spoke to each other, or to themselves. As seen above, Mina had much more access to the “men’s” world – she wrote various letters, journals, and telegrams to both Lucy, and men of the novel. Lucy, on the other hand, only wrote to herself and Mina, the women of the novel. In my previous work, I identified that Lucy personifies the sexuality of the “New Woman”, while Mina personifies the more technological side of the “New Woman.” Lucy has limited resources and ways to communicate and becomes isolated because of this lack of communication. Does Stoker do this on purpose, due to her differences between Mina and Lucy? In addition, I found it interesting how Jonathan only wrote in journals, and never wrote letters to others. While this data may not be clean, it does provide some interesting insight into the novel in terms of who’s giving information, and who’s receiving it. 

The Word “Voluptuous” in Dracula

My paper was centered around the idea of feminine sexuality as a threat to Victorian English values. I talked about the word “voluptuous” and how this contributes to that idea. Whenever the word was used, the men in the novel were briefly inferior and the women vampires were directly challenging traditional English views. This graph helped me pinpoint where exactly the word appeared and since it was not used frequently I could track through the book where that word was used. This helped me make connections and comparisons to the different situations throughout the book. From Jonathan in the castle, Lucy in the cemetery​, and Van Helsing’s encounter with the women vampires; it is interesting to see the different scenarios and how it is dispersed throughout the novel.

Mapping the Unmappable

We have spent the first part of our course examining our literary texts as both about information (i.e. thematically concerned with information collection, analysis, distribution, storage, etc) and as information systems in themselves. Choosing from “A Case of Identity,” “The Man of the Crowd,” “The Library of Babel,” or “On Exactitude in Science” (one text only), what might you note about the relationship between the form and/or structure of the text and its information-related concepts. How does form/structure reinforce or subvert the text’s themes?

“Library of Babel” Virtual Archives

Artist Refik Anadol  has turned 1.7 million documents in the SALT Istanbul institute in Turkey into a searchable virtual archive inspired by Borges’ “Library of Babel”:

https://creators.vice.com/en_au/article/gyxe4m/refik-anadol-1-7-million-documents-library-of-babel

And here is the Library of Babel web app, a program that “archives” all possible phrases: https://libraryofbabel.info/

along with a Smithsonian article about the project and its Brooklyn-based programmer, Jonathan Basile: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/digital-library-contains-every-phrase-that-could-ever-be-uttered-180956623/

Basile notes:

“If completed, [The Library of Babel] would contain every possible combination of 1,312,000 characters, including lower case letters, space, comma, and period,” Basile explains on the site. “Thus, it would contain every book that ever has been written, and every book that ever could be— including every play, every song, every scientific paper, every legal decision, every constitution, every piece of scripture, and so on. At present it contains 1,024,640 volumes.”


Welcome to Signals & Noise!

Hello, everyone! Our course blog is live now. We’ll be using this space to gather our thoughts, create connections between our readings and the world around us, and post student-curated content. Please feel free to use this space to post any links to course-relevant online materials that you’d like, even when you do not have a specific blog assignment.

First Thoughts

In The Information, James Gleick argues

“Information is what our world runs on: the blood and the fuel, the vital principle….Now even biology has become an information science, a subject of messages, instructions, and code. Genes encapsulate information and enable procedures for reading it in and writing it out. Life spreads by networking. The body itself is an information processor. Memory resides not just in brains but in every cell. No wonder genetics bloomed along with information theory. DNA is the quintessential information molecule, the most advanced message processor at the cellular level—an alphabet and a code, 6 billion bits to form a human being. “What lies at the heart of every living thing is not a fire, not warm breath, not a ‘spark of life,’ ” declares the evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins. “It is information, words, instructions.… If you want to understand life, don’t think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.” The cells of an organism are nodes in a richly interwoven communications network, transmitting and receiving, coding and decoding. Evolution itself embodies an ongoing exchange of information between organism and environment” (Gleick, 197).

As we launch our semester of investigating the implications of this understanding of information, what thoughts do you have as you make contact with these preliminary concepts? Does this way of looking at energy, biology, social organization, science, literature and other arts—in a word, life— as information challenge ways that you’ve seen things before? Do you have any questions or ideas you want to explore at this point?