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Not-so-distant reading: A dynamic network approach to literature

Markus Luczak-Roesch, Adam Grener and Emma Fenton


In this article we report about our efforts to develop and evaluate computational support tools for literary studies. We present a novel method and tool that allows interactive visual analytics of character occurrences in Victorian novels, and has been handed to humanities scholars and students for work with a number of novels from different authors. Our user study reveals insights about Victorian novels that are valuable for scholars in the digital humanities field, and informs UI as well as UX designers about how these domain experts interact with tools that leverage network science.

Funding statement: This work was supported by the Spearheading Digital Futures Steering Group at Victoria University of Wellington and Victoria Business School.


The authors want to thank Tom Goldfinch for his invaluable contributions to the development of the tool prototype. We also thank Yevgeniya Li and Kingsley Ihejirika for their support in producing the demonstration material for our tool prototype. Finally, we thank the anonymous reviewers for their critical comments and suggestions for improving this article.


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Received: 2017-8-27
Revised: 2017-11-5
Accepted: 2018-1-28
Published Online: 2018-2-28
Published in Print: 2018-3-1

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston