Voyant Tools

The Little Review through Voyant Tools

Voyant Tools made it easier to “read” The Little Review in the sense that you can know the overarching theme of the magazine or an issue in specific without having to actually read every piece of writing in it. The word cloud was really helpful in finding out the general theme(s). The graphs of search words, though, was more helpful if you wanted to know how prevalent a certain word was, and since you could relate it to a certain issue where it was either remarkably low or high, it helped put it into historical perspective too. That was more interesting to me because then you could see the social effects of big events, like how we talked about the rise of censorship during the war and how they didn’t even use the word war. That’s not something that would be immediately recognizable, unless perhaps you were specifically looking for it, just by reading every page of the journal.

One thing I found when going back to read the journal after looking at the graph of words that I’d searched is that it wasn’t always truly representative of the issue. Like in class, when Brooke searched Democrat and Republican and it showed one issue that had a lot of mentions of Democrat, but it turned out to just be a piece entitled The Democrat, which made liberal use of the word. If you were to just look at the graph without going back to the actual journal, you could come away with a skewed vision of what the journal represented. Other times, it was completely accurate, and it turned out to be something related to the current events of the time, which you wouldn’t have been able to see without comparing it to the issues published in later years. 


Discourse on Censorship and Obscenity in The Egoist

I chose to resume my examination of discourses about censorship and obscenities from last week by looking into The Egoist, the sister magazine of The Little Review. I used the same graphing functions on Voyant Tools and attempted to graph the same series of words across the magazine's corpus: censorship, censor, censors, censored, obscene, obscenity, postal, free speech, espionage, objection, objections.

The data I input revealed the following Word Trends graph: 

Since part of my project focuses on the relationship between Ulysses and the suppression of The Little Review, I thought it would be interesting to look for any trends in discourse pertaining to censorship, obscenity, and suppression in the issues of The Egoist that were printed around the same time that The Egoist began serializing Ulysses in January of 1919.

From the relative frequency view of the Word Trends graph (shown), the words "censor," "obscene," "obscenity," "censorship," and "censors" only constitute a small spike in the graph for the January 1919 issue. The Keywords in Context widget shows the term in the context of the issue:

 Compared to the remarks about censorship printed in The Little Review, particularly in the May 1919 and June 1919 issues (described in one of my earlier blog posts), this antipathy toward the censor is muted. 

One slightly larger, albeit still small, spike occurs for the last issue of The Egoist from December 1919. This issue  contains the tenth episode of Ulysses, and the Keywords in Context widget reveals that the word "censor" was used in the context of something written about Joyce's work: 

A look at the actual December 1919 issue of The Egoist on the Modernist Journals project shows that the text containing the word "censor" is part of Harriet Shaw Weaver's "Notice to Readers,"  which explains that The Egoist will not be printed during 1920 and that a publisher has been located who is willing to "make an unmutilated copy" of Ulysses in book form (70).

Editorial Appearance in The Freewoman and The Crisis

In an attempt to find less obvious trends within The Freewoman and The Crisis, and inspired by our discussion of editorial control, I decided to examine the recurrence of the names of the editors of The Crisis and The Freewoman in their respective publications. Both magazines featured consistent editors whose names were strongly linked to the magazine: Dora Marsden, in the case of The Freewoman, and W.E.B. DuBois heading up The Crisis. '

Below are the Voyant Tools graphs showing the relative frequency of appearance of each editor's name in his or her magazine:

The Crisis


The Freewoman

The differences between these graphs is fascinating, and combined with some knowledge of the magazines, illustrates the difference between the two in terms of their bibliographic coding. The number of recurrences of Marsden's name throughout the run of The Freewoman seems to be very low considering the amount of content she is known to have contributed to the magazine. However, when examining the magazine, many pieces are not directly credited, and it seems to be taken for granted that these pieces were authored by her. Moreover, many of the occurrences of her name within the magazine (particularly in the issues that show spikes in the graphs) appear within letters or articles written by others mentioning her. Thus, something that might be indicative of the number of pieces a person authors within a magazine, or at least a mark of a person's imprint or influence on a magazine, turns out to have little correlation with these concepts, due to that particular magazine's established style for attributing authorship. 

I am less sure as to the significance of the fluctuation of the appearance of DuBois' name in The Crisis. The much higher relative frequency I interpret to be indicative of the frequency with which DuBois appears within stories in the publication, as well as part of lists of officers of the NAACP and the recipient of reader letters, as illustrated by the Words in Context widget below:

The Crisis


Text-mining Poetry

The main feedback that I got was to try a more nuanced approach to the corpus in searching out terms that each magazine uses in their respective discussions regarding nature and the environment.  As I am more familiar with the corpus of Poetry, I have focused on revising my large corpus analysis to look more in depth into the discussion of nature within that magazine.  More specifically, I wanted to take a closer look at how the magazine correlates nature with the individual in comparison to how it is treated in regards to region.  My larger project for this course focuses on an examination of the means through which Harriet Monroe employs Poetry as a vehicle for the espousal of a fundamentally American modernism that has its locus in the Southwest and its origin in the Native American tribes residing there.  With that in mind, I created the following word trend graph of the Poetry corpus:

The most surprising trend here is the lack of attention given to geography in relation to individual.  While "nature" remains a fairly consistent presence throughout, both "Indian" and "primitive" ebb and flow which seems to speak to moments of more intense focus.  However, "southwest" is basically absent from the entire corpus.  This focus on the individual over location could be emblematic of the disparity between poets' geographic location and the content of their work that came up in the questions after my presentation today.  The focus on depicting those that reside in the Southwest rather than the physical location could be representative of the desire to depict the existence that the contributors to Poetry wish to depict but not live.

Anarchy and Irony in TLR

I've been working on a project in which I'm hoping to show how Margaret Anderson used irony as an aesthetic register of her anarchism.  I am trying to show that she contributed significantly to the type of difficult irony in modernism, the kind that cannot be resolved without sacrificing another equally plausible perspective.  One example of this difficult irony is the conclusion of The Waste Land​, where nobody is really sure if it rains or not.  I used Voyant tools to show me what it could find when I searched the terms "anarchism, anarchy, anarchist, irony, and ironic."  


This "Word Trends" graph shows that anarchism faded from the magazine's interests just as irony began to spike.  The spike in "irony" wasn't sustained, though.  There are a few possibilities for this, I think.  Irony doesn't explicitly call itself out, which means it would evade Voyant tools's word search.  So, it's possible that irony had a constant presence throughout TLR's run.  The spike, however, suggests that some writers were talking about it explicitly perhaps as a form.  I think the drop in anarchy-terms and the two spikes in irony-terms shows the magazine shifting its interest from explicit politics to form, an implicitly anarchic form.  


This visual collator graph shows that "ironic" only connects to "anarchist" through "tale."  This isn't necessarily a strong bond, but it does show at least some connection between anarchy, irony, and (fictional) writing.  Also, some of the clusters reveal more connections.  Irony connects to style, ironic connects to experiment, anarchists connects to rhetoric, and anarchism connects to art. Anarchy links with laughter, which might relate to Wyndham Lewis's concept of "corrosive laughter."  I think this quick analysis of TLR begins to develop some of the links between anarchy and irony.

Text Mining Poetry & Others

For this lab, I wanted to text mine Poetry and Others as a means through which to try and account for the exodus of poets from the former to the latter during and immediately after World War I.  Given my interest (both for the final project and broader research) in the relation between literature and the environment, I thought it would be interesting to see how these two magazines dealt with nature.  The skin that I built used Word Trends, Collocates, Keywords in Context, and Collocate Clusters (link to Poetry skin; link to Others skin).  These widgets, because they allow for searching of an individual term and gives the statistics of that word’s occurrences, seemed to be the best options for this sort of analysis.

Word trend graph of "nature" in Others corpus

The Word Trend widget for Others exemplifies the relative absence of “nature” from that magazine’s corpus.  This is further clarified in looking at the Collocates widget, that shows only ninety-six occurrences of the term in comparison to 1,935 in Poetry.  While this may be due to the (the MJP contains only five volumes of Others in comparison to the twenty-one volumes of Poetry), there seems to be something more here when looking at the Collocate Clusters widget (below).

Collocate cluster of "nature" in Others corpus

Collocate cluster of "nature" in Poetry corpus

In Others, “nature” is clustered most predominantly with “eyes,” possibly hinting at a connection to perception.  Poetry, on the other hand, groups “nature” closely to “artist,” “source,” and “poetry.”  While this is by no means a definitive study of the treatment of nature in these two magazines, this does (provisionally) seem to point towards a connection between a view of nature as source of poetry as passé and movement from Poetry to Others.

The Little Review, Others, and Discourse on Censorship

 Since my final project deals with censorship in The Little Review, and since the particular issue I am working with contains discourse on censorship and free speech, I thought that it might be interesting to graph a series of terms about the subjects in order to see whether I might be able to locate a discourse on censorship or free speech elsewhere within the corpus of The Little Review. I decided to graph these terms in one of the magazines related to The Little Review, as well. The Egoist's corpus would not load with Voyant Tools, unfortunately, so I graphed the terms as they appear -- or rather, as they do not appear -- in Others.

I developed matching custom Voyant Tools skins for each magazine, using Cirrus, Keywords in Context, Summary, Bubbles, and Word Trends as my widgets. I also attempted to graph the same series of terms in both magazines: censor, censors, censored, censorship, obscene, obscenity, obscenities, postmaster, postal service, free speech, espionage, objections, unmailable. 

Below is my Word Trends graph for all of these terms in The Little Review:

As it should be clear, the Word Trends widget did not recognize all of the terms I input as occurring within the corpus of The Little Review. Strangely, however, I am certain that some of these words do occur at least once within the entire corpus. 

Collapsing the terms into one graph, however, revealed a more promising pattern by allowing me to see where the terms occur together:

Some of the trends in the graphs I developed for The Little Review only flagged issues of the magazine that I have already examined; however, using the Word Trends widget with collapsed terms did allow me to find one issue (Volume 3, Issue 5 -- the spike in the graph) that I have yet to look at. 

The results I found using the same skin and terms for Others were less interesting, by far. The widgets only recognize the keywords "obscene" and "obscenity" as occurring within the corpus. Although it is not particularly interesting, my Word Trends graph for Others is embedded below for the sake of consistency: 


Man, Woman, Men, Women: Comparing Mentions of Gender in The Freewoman and The Crisis

Both The Freewoman and The Crisis offer intriguing divergences from the common words of other magazines, particularly in regards to their usage of gendered language, such as the words "man," "men," "women," and "woman."

Here are my customized skins for the two magazines:

The Freewoman

The Crisis

Previous texts we have examined have listed "man" as one of the top words within the texts. The Crisis is no exception, with "men" and "man" coming in at 8th and 9th most recurring, respectively.

The Crisis



The number one word of The Freewoman, however, is "women."

The Freewoman



It is expected that a feminist publication would refer to women. More intriguing, however, is the fact that the most common is the plural, "women," and not the singular, "woman," in parallel with the "man" of other texts. This suggests a focus on women as a group, rather than some usage as a referent to an ideal or a monolithic "woman." This is similar to The Crisis, in which "men" squeaks by "man" in popularity, by a margin of about 1000 appearances.

The Crisis

A comparison of the word trends of the two publications illustrates these phenomena:

The Crisis

The Freewoman

The above graph of The Freewoman is actually a graph of the five most common words within the publication. Below is the graph of the five most common words of The Crisis, in which none of the four words in question make an appearance.

The Crisis

So, perhaps not the most revelatory discovery of the ages: that a feminist magazine talks about women a lot. But I did find interesting the ways in which both magazines speak of the collective more than the whole (except for the case of men in The Freewoman, intriguingly), emphasizing genders as a group more than a monolith or an ideal.

MJP Collocates

Here is a skin for examining word collocates in the MJP corpus. The Summary widget provides overall corpus statistics, while the Collocates widget allows you to search a term and see its collocates to varying degrees of distance. The Bubbles graph in the center represents visually the vocabulary connections within the corpus.

You can play with the Collocate widget here:

The Bubble graph can be manipulated here:

New & Art in The Little Review


The relationship that I took a look at is the occurrences of the word "new" and "art" in the MJP corpus of The Little Review.  This relationship is interesting because it is fairly dynamic throughout the magazine's run, with moments that exemplify an inverse relationship - such as between 1914 and 1915 - and also a direct relationship - such as throughout the issues of 1916.  Of particular interest is the response to this early osciallation, with the largest disparity being the first issue of 1917, which is also the low point for "new" and the high point for "art."  While the dynamic relation between the two terms continues, this point of greatest divergence would seem to warrant further inspection.

This large corpus analysis is different than our class discussion of the theme of death in the September 1918 issue of The Little Review, as it returns trends that place a much stronger emphasis on regeneration over decay.  In analyzing this trend throughout the corpus, these tools for large corpus analysis seem to give a new means through which to examine the relationship between The Little Review and World War I that focuses on these larger trends of life and regeneration that permeate the corpus.