On the weakness of quantitative methods for qualitative data

I've had a lot of trouble figuring out how to go about acquiring usable information from Gephi—while I have traditionally done well in English and decently in math, the areas of qualitative and quantitative study are extremely segregated in my mind.  As a result, I spent a good deal of time fiddling with settings, messing things up, reopening the file, and trying again.  When it came down to it, changing the settings didn't reveal anything new for me.

What I ended up doing was to consider Moretti's analysis—removing points of data and looking at their effect on the overall network—and see where I could go with that.  What I did was a series of removals with a particular sequence of steps.

1) Screenshot

2) Delete the most heavily linked pieces of data—those that show up large and red.

3) Screenshot.

4) Reapply the node size and colour parameters so that the next largest pieces of data move up to attention.

5) Screenshot.

6) Repeat steps 2-5 until no points remain.

I have put together a gif to provide an overview of the process.  (It seemed a bit saner than trying to upload 16 similar screenshots…)

Some observations… In the earlier stages of this process, it was plainly obvious to identify a few nodes at a time to remove—themes and genres early on, and eventually authors, then finally particular works.  As I went on, the number of nodes to be removed became larger and larger, indicating a growing uniformity in the "value" of those nodes.  By the time the values were that unified, the connections were almost the minimum necessary to keep the remaining points all part of the network. 

I found it interesting that, going about in this manner, it took until the 6th iteration to isolate a node from the rest of the network.  The entire web was so interconnected that it took a lot of removal to isolate anything.   This is one of the primary reasons I find Gephi a difficult medium to extract information from—the complex interconnectedness of the points, growing out of a subjective process of tagging, does not lend itself easily to identifying structural centers.  Using the language of Moretti's article, the central points stand out quite easily—death, art, greatness, etc.—but the structural centers are much more elusive.

I think as far as quantitative analysis goes, I would be far more interested in looking at the frequency of particular words in texts or something along those lines, as this would be far more objective and would reveal something that hadn't already been revealed by the process of labeling and sorting, which is the case with the thematic tagging we have here.

Gephi and The Little Review

I really am enjoying messing around Gephi. It’s an interesting way to look at written works. I hope we can learn how to do it because I would love to do this for other works. Anyway I had fun fiddling around with Gephi’s color system so I could better see the nodes. Not that the black isn’t cool or anything, but I just wanted to see what it could do. It was really interesting how the color system worked. And it made it easier to see everything connected with one another. I could clearly see death/writing (they were on top of each other) and greatness as one of the biggest nodes. Poetry was also a big node however I only deleted death/writing and greatness. When I deleted those three nodes I was greatly surprised with what occurred.

As it can be seen from the graphs the nodes deleted ended up making a triangle with Poem, poetry and T.S. Eliot. I’m not sure what this means exactly but I found it interesting that poem and poetry would connect and even more so that T.S. Eliot would connect with both. Does that mean that T.S. Eliot is primarily poetry? Or does that mean that poetry is primarily T.S. Eliot? See? It’s a confusing conundrum. Yet within this triangle everything else connects with it in some form whether directly or indirectly. So poetry is unaffected by death/writing/greatness nodes as is poem and T.S. Eliot.  So does that mean that these subjects are not part of T.S. Eliot in the Little Review 1918 issue?

I am not sure myself but Gephi enabled me to see how things can change if you remove nodes so I then removed poetry. By removing poetry the triangle was gone and there were clear connections from poem to T.S. Eliot. I also was able to clearly see other straight forward connections like Irony to Mediocrity, Aesthetics to Literature. I found these to be the most in your face nodes after deleting poetry. Is it possible that these direct connections mean that irony is a weakness, and that literature is a form of aesthetics or vice versa? It is truly interesting to use Gephi to go into a work of literature and see how it is represented. 

Preservation of the Past

The Wide World
Vol. 25, No. 146
Pitt-Kethley, Andrew (editor)
London: George Newnes, Ltd., 1910-06


The Tyro:
A Review of the Arts of Painting Sculpture and Design
Number 2
Lewis, Wyndham (editor)
London: The Egoist Press, 1922

A Quarterly: Art, Prose, and Poetry
Nos. 6/7: Xmas Double Number
Green, Russel (editor)
London: Hendersons, 1920-12

    Article Links

    Dana: An Irish Magazine of Independent Thought

    Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 4

    "The Sower" by Edward Dowden


    Poetry: A Magazine of Verse

    Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 17

    "The Grey Rock" by W. B. Yeats


    Le Petit Journal des Réfusées

    No. 1, p. 6


    Women's Hair Tonic Advertisements 1910-1911

    I. Cosmopolitan V. 51 #1, 1910-06, page 189 "Rexall '93' Hair Tonic"




    2. The Lady's Realm V. 29 #171, 1911-01, page 11 "3003 'Anticapilla'"



    3. Good Housekeeping V. 51 # 2, 1910-08 page 139 "Ed. Pinaud's Hair Tonic"



    The Crisis

      I looked throught the very first issue of The Crisis. The picture on the cover threw me off just a little bit. It was a picture of a child with a hoop and stick. I thought there would be something related to it inside the journal, but I did not find anything directly related. The advertisements were all in the last several pages of the journal. I read some of the stories and as interesting as they were some of them were sad and disturbing. I know that coloured people were not treated fairly in the early days of history, but to read actual events of cruelty made me a little uneasy. I couldn't believe how people were treated back then and how so many events were ignored or stories changed because of the colour of someone's skin. 

     After reading this journal I believe there was some bias, but that was to be expected. Some of the advertisements were directed toward coloured people and others appeared to be more generalized. There were ads for education, housing, work and several products.

    This appears to be a journal that non-coloured people probably did not read. If they did, it makes me wonder what they would think or how they would react to reading any of the articles posted in the journal. 

    On contexts and youth

    I very quickly settled on Dana: An Irish Magazine of Independent Thought as my magazine of choice, primarily because I have a particular fondness for the Irish historical and literary tradition, and because it was very stripped down to literary material and the advertisement of additional literary material. The work I picked was in the fourth volume, a poem by James Joyce that was simply titled "Song" (124). This is a pretty little piece I have seen before in various settings, but which has never stood out in particular. It is a very nice poem, but taking the context into consideration made it something more than that.

    "Song" is located on an even-numbered page, which in the usual pagination puts it on the left side, directly across from "Literary Notices," by F. M. Atkinson, and directly following William Buckley's "King Diarmuid." In fact, the poem appears on the same page where "King Diarmuid" ends, effectively attaching it to the story like a footnote or a related quote. "King Diarmuid" is the story of a king and hero who meets his doom at the hands of a woman; however, at the last, she takes pity on him and allows him at least to die rather than persist miserably. With this prelude, then "Song" takes on a decidedly less innocent, lighthearted air. Rather than the pleasant praise of a young lover for his lady, it is lonelier, spoken from afar, spoken as a loss and not as a gain.

    The "Literary Notices" following the poem seem a little less related and impactful; however, there was one fragment of this section which resonated for me. The first item of notice is a Mr. Swinburne's collected works, the first volume of which has just been released. Swinburne's youth is considered with great delight, and it brings to mind Joyce's own youth at the time of this publication. Atkinson romanticizes the idea of "what I have written I have written," suggesting that a young man's work is no less valid because he was young, that it provides insight into his growth as a writer. The commentary reminded me, as a reader, that even the great James Joyce was at this time a young writer, still getting started. In some ways, it halts my incessant need to read into his poem and urges me to consider its charm, its love for antiquity and its traditions of courtly love (antiquity is another idea discussed with respect to the young Swinburne) which, in many upper-level classes, might otherwise be somewhat brushed over.

    Reflecting the past

    I am not sure I got this right so please forgive me if not.

     I chose to look at the Dana magazine on the site vol. 2 no. 7. I found that it was related to the turmoil of Ireland. Especially the Protestants vs. The Catholics and the fact that it was in 1904 means the Easter Rising of 1916 did not occur yet. So it was interesting to read the feelings of the Irish before a huge event would occur in their history, probably one of the biggest aside from the Great Famine. There was a variety of articles, letters, poems and other forms of literature to convey how the Irish were feeling at the time. So the magazine’s issue reflects the past of the Irish as they were feeling about their situation in religious and national aspects.

    The different forms of text in the issue relates to how strongly the Irish were feeling at the time. Their poems, articles and letters reflect their sense of emotion during a time of conflict that was escalating to the point of the Easter Rising of 1916. So it can be seen that the magazine’s reflection of the past shows the discord that was going on for Ireland at the time of its publication. So therefore the item alone is trying to represent Ireland and what is going on through the country religiously, publicly and nationally. It then reflects the past by gathering all the said items of text that it posesses and it uses it in it's publication to express those feelings of the time. Giving a sense of what the people were thinking though these trying times where the nation was shaking at it's core. I find it interesting this occued before the Easter Rising of 1916 because that means that these occurances are feelings from before that would greatly intensify afterward. Yet the feelings shown in the publication almost seem as greatly intensified even then as it would after the Easter Rising. 

    Stolen Time Archive

     When I first looked at this archive I was frustrated because I didn't really know what I was looking at or what I was looking for. I re-visited the archive this morning and after clicking through different links I finally found some things of interest. I don't believe the archive is set up very well, but once a person figures out how the archive actually works it is quite interesting. 

    My favorite part of the archive was the "Launch Project" link. It was very interactive and brings an interesting experience to the reader. After discovering that, I found that I could go into other editorials and launch other projects throughout the archive. The archive becomes more than written pieces of information or history. There is a lot more to this archive than what it appears to be when a visitor first comes upon it. 

    By interacting with this archive I believe it helps and encourages the reader to understand the information better and want to read more. This archive is an example of some of the things we talked about on Monday-Discourse and Disciplinarity. There is so much involved in this archive. It is quite fascinating.

    On the resistance of the archive to interpretation

    I've found the Stolen Time article rather interesting, but extremely confusing. I honestly am not quite sure what it is archiving or what I am looking for when I look through it—where, when reading the Blake or Rossetti archives, I was able to start out just with the aim of familiarizing myself with their work, I feel I am missing something fundamental about this archive.

    It took me a good two hours to actually figure out how to open the archive—I was wading through authors' notes and editors' notes of all kinds, analysis of the archive as a whole, and other related writings on the website before I even found the link to launch the actual project. I get the overall idea that it is something of a cross between office work, "stolen time" (that is, using the time you are getting paid for to do your own personal business), play, and organization/archiving. To be completely honest, though, I can't really get beyond a very surface level of observation with Stolen Time.

    The way the archive mimics an office working environment in many ways is quite interesting to me—the clock in, clock out, the folders, the timestamp in the corner. There's this profound confusion about whether you're really doing anything worthwhile, about whether you're actually working towards something that can be called "work" or just browsing… like one generally does on the internet. It's definitely making work to eke any information out of it, and I look forward to finding out what the class has to say (both in terms of commentary and in terms of how to work it, period!).

    The Waste Land as an Archive

    First of all, I was completely distracted throughout my reading of Foucault by how he stole his argument from the Reading Rainbow reel:


    Back to the matter at hand, I was intrigued by a few morsels of information I retained from the assigned texts. Foucault's observation that Floubert's The Temptation "opens a domain in depth," (Foucault 105) laconically describes the significance of the archive.  Certainly, Eliot's "The Waste Land" serves multiple roles (if not simply individual pleasure), including this capacity as an archive to past intellectualism and dialogue.  As the Quotations and Allusions group from our wiki project found, Eliot collected fragments of canonical texts to express old thoughts in a modern, erudite way.  Voss and Werner describe the archive as now being an "ex-static" property, thanks to the digitization of prior information, where "the material becomes immaterial" (ii).  We have seen how this shift of preservational theory opens new possibilities for understanding and analyzing a text, yet Voss and Werner are not replete to acknowledge the importance of material evidence (as found by Elizabeth and I during our investigation of the original magazine appearances of "The Waste Land.")

    Studying literature that serves an archival function is interesting, yet I sometimes question whether our analyses take the intention of the author out of his or her context; our resources are so amplified and complex that there may be some danger of ascribing anachronistic hypotheses that distract from the purpose of a text.