Monthly Archives: March 2015

Digital Humanities: Don’t Lose Focus

Don’t lose focus! (WikiMedia Commons)

For my project on Robinson Crusoe and adventure in the first half of the 18th century (1700-1750), it’s surprisingly easy to jump right in and completely lose focus. With online media there is such a wealth of possibility that it’s more important than ever to narrow in on a particular route of study.

I will therefore be simplifying the navigation of the project website, splitting the reflections on method away from the critical essay that will analyse purely the results.

Simplified, my pages will now be:

  • Introduction: explaining what my project is, what it’s about and who it’s by, etc.
  • Reflection of Method: this will be a reflective essay focusing on the process of distance reading and evaluating the usefulness of the tools in relation to my project.
  • Critical Essay: my close reading of adventure in Robinson Crusoe against the “backdrop” of my distance reading results on the same subject during (and limited to) 1660-1730.
  • Bibliography: split in two this will include my critical sources/reading and my data results/tools (visual or otherwise).

Not only will this enhance reader’s experience when on my website and add clarity to my argument, but it will also mean I have much more of a focus when approaching the project.


The Relationship Between Gender and Title


After needing to hone the idea of my project, I have decided for its focus to be on researching whether there is a relationship between the author’s gender and the title of the work (and indeed, vice versa). I became interested in this idea because over the course of this module, it has become apparent that male authors seem to prefer titles which include words such as ‘adventure’ and ‘account’, whereas female authors tend to write more about ‘memoirs’ and ‘romances’ etc. It is important to remember however, that perhaps pseudonyms have been used, or false names, and so I will bear this in mind throughout the project.

The project will be laid out on a blog site, as opposed to a traditional essay format. This was decided upon because I think it is important for the information to be interactive, with the readers able to actively click on links to visualizations and such and be able to play an active role in their own understanding of the text.

The Early Novels Database  will be used to gain access to a data set of authors and titles as it houses over 1000 works from the seventeenth and eighteenth century. This information will be extracted and use textual analysis tools such as Voyant to see whether there are any significant results in regards to the gender of the author and their title choice.