Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
EnumerationsData and Literary Study$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Andrew Piper

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226568614

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226568898.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 June 2021

Characterization (Constraint)

Characterization (Constraint)

Chapter:
(p.118) Five Characterization (Constraint)
Source:
Enumerations
Author(s):

Andrew Piper

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226568898.003.0006

Quantity has a role to play in understanding the nature of characters and the process of characterization (the writerly act of generating animate entities through language). With Alex Woloch’s question of “the many” in mind, the chapter begins with a survey of an estimated 85 characters per novel in the nineteenth century, a conservative estimate of 20,000 novels published during this period in English, producing ca. 1.7 million unique characters appearing in one century in one language. Simultaneously, the process of characterization poses challenges of scale: the great number of characters, plus the vast amount of information surrounding even a single, main character. Characters (like other textual features) are abundant across the pages of novels. Through an examination of over 650,000 characters using new techniques in natural language processing and entity recognition, this chapter explores the "character-text" of novels (how characters are activated, described, objectified). The (surprising) evidence here suggests that the process of characterization is best described as one of stylistic constraint, aligning the practice of characterization more closely with a character’s etymological origins (as representative, general, or “characteristic”—not individualistic). The chapter then explores the rise of “interiorly oriented” characters and Nancy Armstrong’s notion of strongly gendered “deep character.”

Keywords:   digital humanities, cultural analytics, natural language processing, named entity recognition, literary character, gender, female subjectivity, classical realism

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.