Category Archives: 571 Blog

Framing Sentiment

Kurt Vonnegut once said when explaining the structures of narratives, “And if I die — God forbid — I would like to go to heaven to ask somebody in charge up there, ‘Hey, what was the good news and what was the bad news?’” In his blend of witty cynicism and existential crisis, Vonnegut asked a question that is the crux of many literary arguments— does the plot revealed reflect the sentiment of the overall story? Vonnegut’s question and subsequent explanation of graphing narration influenced and inspired Matthew Jockers, a professor of literary studies at the University of Lincoln-Nebraska, who created the Syuzhet Program, an R based code that graphs the sentiment of a text, revealing the plot. He named his program based on the Russian Formalist’s understanding of syuzhet (story) and fabula (plot) and has improved its ability to discern sentiment throughout a text. However, novels are rarely explained in the chronological order of the story, and are often presented out of order or in frames. By visualizing the separate frames of the three implied narrators in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or; The Modern Prometheus (1818 edition) and comparing those frames to the overall sentiment based plot of the entire narrative, the implied author’s power to change the sentiment of the plot, regardless of the story, will be revealed.

Literary Background (Paragraphs 2+3)

  • Give background on Russian Formalists.
    • Propp
    • Genette

Enter Frankenstein (Paragraphs 4, 5, 6)

  • Discuss framework of Frankenstein in relation to overall story.
  • Analyze from Formalists interpretive tools.
    • Focusing on Genette’s Mood, Voice, and Order

Digital Humanities (Paragraphs 7, 8, 9) 

  • Section to be peer reviewed as I am worried I am either too technical or too general and need confirmation that this makes sense.
  • Explain Syuzhet.
  • General Frankenstein graphs.
  • Sneak peaks:

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 9.35.55 PM


Frames of Sentiment Analysis (assuming about 4-5 paragraphs)

  • Haven’t finished this section yet.
  • Includes all the framing graphs.
  • Compares graphs to each other and overall story.
  • Sneak peak: (Creature’s narrative in red/Victor Part 1 in blue)

Creature (red) vs. Victor (blue)

What went wrong/what could go wrong/what is wrong? (1 paragraph)

  • This will be a slight reiteration of an earlier paragraph where I describe the issues the program presents but I will further connect it to the text and to literary analysis as a whole.

Why? (1 paragraph)

  • This could get lumped into the above paragraph or the conclusion.
  • Why is using this program helpful or important to the study of Frankenstein.

Conclusion (1 paragraph)

Where I’ll be by the time we reach my conclusion.








My draft is currently at 10 pages, so I am not worried about length at this point, more clarity and purpose. I’m sorry if my outline is less formal than most– unfortunately this is how I outline. Excited to read everyone’s posts!

Original Post

The Challenges of Continued Research…

“The Angel of Destiny” by Odilon Redon

“To bestow, find, reveal, or earn a name; to take away, hide, or prohibit a name…such acts are the means and ends of the characters in fiction, and as such lay bare a novel’s deepest levels of plot.”

~Michael Ragussis

In continuing to develop my project over the past few weeks, I have found myself at both a literal and figurative impasse: I am still grappling with and exploring the fundamental (foundational?) question of why Mary Shelley chose to leave the creature in Frankenstein nameless. I have realized, however, that my attention has been misplaced, and should instead be on the effect that the creature’s namelessness has on our reading of the text.

Ironically, my recent research has caused me to (at least initially) widen the scope of my focus, which on one hand has been a bit overwhelming, but on the other hand, has allowed me to more precisely tease out my research question. My recent readings have included several new articles and book chapters (see additional sources below) on Julia Kristeva’s concept of the “abject,” the issue of naming in literature, gothic literature as a genre, and lastly, the specificity of the “female gothic.”

With those topics in mind, the following briefly summarizes my current thoughts about the question of naming (or not-naming) in Frankenstein. Specifically, the creature’s lack of a name serves two purposes:

1) It situates him as “illegitimate” within the text, both in the literal sense of his parentage and in the figurative sense of his relationship to society.

2) It positions his character as a gothic double for Victor Frankenstein.

I am still working on developing the latter, but this mirroring/doubling can be seen not only in Victor’s and the creature’s relationships with each other, but through their interactions with other characters, and with their respective actions throughout the novel. However, both possibilities refer back to the ontological paradox of whether something can have an identity if it does not have (or rather is denied) a name, which ties into the portion of my project that focuses on the issue of TEI and name coding a character.

In addition to the supplemental theoretical reading and research that I am doing, I’m also currently reading the 1831 edition of the text, in particular with an eye on comparing Shelley’s descriptions of the creature with those that she made in the 1818 text. While I have found much that has been written on the differences between the two texts (largely, on the characters of Elizabeth Lavenza, Victor Frankenstein, and Henry Clerval, as well as on the biographical events in Mary Shelley’s life that largely informed her revisions to the latter edition), I have yet to come across anything that examines the ways in which the portrayal of the creature changes (or does not change) from the earlier to later text. I am also currently using Juxta to assist with this close textual reading and comparison, but may also use the Keywords in Context tool in Voyant to help with this as well (I’ve been experimenting with both to see which would better suit my purposes).

My plan is to be done with my research this weekend and begin drafting my project immediately afterwards. My outline will follow in my next blog post!  (547)

Additional Sources:

“Approaching Abjection.” Powers of Horror: an Essay on Abjection, by Julia Kristeva, Columbia University Press, 1982, pp. 1–31.

“Abjection in Literature.” Abjection and Representation: an Exploration of Abjection in the Visual Arts, Film and Literature, by Rina Arya, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp. 156–188.

Davison, Carol Margaret. “The Female Gothic.” History of the Gothic: Gothic Literature 1764-1824, 1st ed., University of Wales Press, 2009, pp. 83–110. JSTOR,

Kilgour, Maggie. The Rise of the Gothic Novel. Routledge, 1995.

Ragussis, Michael. “Introduction: In the Name of the Child.” Acts of Naming: the Family Plot in Fiction, Oxford, 1986, pp. 3–16.

Original Post

Work in progress

In terms of what’s new with my research I decided to change what my initial topic was. I initially started out wanting to do something with the power of the digital world. So I wanted to write about how through the digital world, there is unlimited international access to text interpretations and analysis. I then discovered that I was not that excited about the topic even though I am a person that is very interested in analyzing texts and is always looking for new interpretations on texts.

Up until the day of the conferences, I was seeking for a more interesting topic that still included the power of the digital world. Last Tuesday when I was going through my social media apps, I went on Snapchat and stumbled on a marketing advertisement in the new movie, Ready Player One by Steven Spielberg. What intrigued me to want to the advertisement was that it was using key words which I had already encountered from my last informal presentation on video games and emotional aspects found in the digital world which people have not found in the real world. Once I saw the similar connections I definitely felt interest and excitement towards researching the topic. I generally was going to start with researching about the emotional aspect found in the digital world which will be present in the movie then do a general research on emotions found in the digital world and why the digital world intrigues people. I then noticed this was too broad and I wanted to be more specific. I thought back to how I stumbled across the advertisement and why the advertisement happened and it was purely for marketing and they used social media for it.

This is why the current state of my research project is about how marketing has evolved and for what reasons. I am still looking for more research but the keywords that I am using for my research are: media, mediation, intermedia, immersive, online marketing, relating mattering to the Blair Witch Project, game play, gaming, media ecologies. I am also going to start reading the book Ready player one as well as watch the movie. That is all I currently have for my research. (371)

Original Post

Day Nine – Final Project Draft

The thesis for this project-proposal is to examine the creativity of digital humanities and their activities within a school setting. Do digital humanities rely on creativity as much as other English courses and if so, where is the evidence to suggest that in recent years? Why are there seemingly few sources that have the two subjects (digital humanities and creative writing or creativity) in the same source? Could creative writing benefit or negate the progress of digital humanities? This project-proposal will propose a constructed, ideal class within a high-school setting, examining Frankenstein as an English subject and utilize digital sources and tools. Specifically, this class will also utilize creative-writing in most of the assignments for digital humanities such as a group project.

As presented in Battershill and Ross’s academic writing on designing classroom, activities can serve as exploration but require balancing integration and flexibility. As described in their textbook, “creative exploration in classroom activities is nothing new for instructors… the digital humanities offer new compasses and maps for such exploration” (Battershill, Ross, pg. 80). It is essential to be flexible with teaching and learning and thus instructors must find ways to integrate digital humanities (the teaching of digital tools) into a new generation. At the same time, the instructor must find ways to allow this exploration with students and their learning by creating the opportunity to see these old classics (Frankenstein) in a present-age setting and view. I would utilize these examples of classroom activity design (such as ‘character role-play or debate’ for example) but combine elements of creative writing to see how students react and display their results and findings to the classroom. Furthermore, it would be interesting to test the capabilities of the new student body as well as their adaptability with new technology in the digital age. To that end, I’ve come to the theory that activities for digital humanities can begin at the earliest stages before college. I’ve reached the position and idea that speculates that creative writing could be conducted through digital humanities and I would like to examine how such a relationship could benefit the classroom. If proven accurate, these modified digital activities for humanities could benefit the student’s learning of both technical and creative writing.

The contribution of this proposal could provide not only insight on the integration between creative writing and digital humanities, often viewed as two different areas of skill and thought (like fiction and non-fiction) but provide a glimpse of student engagement and the effect of social media of students as well. In recent years, there has been some research suggesting that student engagement has decreased over some time; suggested by Rajaratnam’s Themes and Patterns Explored in the Decline of Student Engagement: An Exploratory Case Study. Naturally, this would be an issue for teachers and students alike in education and the retainment of learning in all levels of schools. If students are detached from their learning environment, it has negative consequences on the student’s long-term future as well as the integrity of those schools. Furthermore, teachers should be supporting students to engage with others as well as their lessons, adding to these negative effects. These teachers are supposed to be mentors as well as supporting role models to their students. Some engagement, however, should be monitored by teachers as well. If left unchecked, students could engage with one another in a manner that could be classified as bullying (cyber or in-person) which should be avoided at all cost. For these reasons, it may prove fruitful for teachers to utilize creativity and engagement in groups while undergoing digital humanities to spark interaction that is safe and positive for all. To require the students to participate in groups creates the opportunity for personal development and create relationship with other group-members. To use creativity, the students create a positive learning experience and environment, and to express themselves to the group and class in an acceptable manner. It can also provide an opportunity for students to explore story-telling (or creative writing) at an earlier age.

If accepted, this proposal would develop a full lesson-plan designed to incorporate the two subjects, digital humanities with creative writing. The thesis of the project would be based upon the idea of creating a syllabus (or rubric of activities) planned out for this ideal class in theory. For the duration of this project, however, the proposal would only examine and record the results of one of the assignments. In this case, I wanted the project to employ a group project into this ideal class, digital activities utilizing creative writing by examining Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In this group project, I would essentially have groups of two or three high-school students work together in writing a script of dialogue that would serve as a hypothetical addition to the story of Frankenstein; using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social networking program. The students would role-play through a message-board or “text-messages” between characters. The characters would be engaged in an argument over being revived from the dead. As such, Victor (or “Victoria”) Frankenstein would be essential and one of the students in the group would have to play the role. A second member of the group would play the “revived” character by Dr. Frankenstein’s hand. The third member of the group could be the supporting character that would assist the group’s argument further. Together, the group would all have to be involved in the formation of the project, argument of the characters, and presentation of their findings and perspectives. As a result, this project would utilize creative writing through the dialogue script, and the project can display basic storytelling by exploring a possible variant of the original story of Frankenstein. The assignment would require using The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein as a template to how to present another perspective of a character other than simply Victor Frankenstein or the Creature for example. This would only be one of the activities that I’d plan and observe, implemented into the syllabus to be used in a real-life high-school English class.

The sources that I’ve chosen for this thesis and proposal are deprived from studies that examine creativity (or creative writing specifically) in academics or examine creativity in part of digital humanities now. I also intend to use common sources of Frankenstein for my main focus for the students while a more recent novel reflecting on a minor character (Elizabeth Frankenstein) as a secondary source called The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein. This would allow students to see how a different perspective can affect the understanding of a story as it is being told or otherwise experience from another character (other than Victor Frankenstein or the Creature). There would be referencing studies of digital humanities within the classroom to complete my understanding and develop the thesis as well. Furthermore, those sources of digital humanities in teaching would help develop the project and thus the activity itself. As expected, the activity would use social media networking sources of the student’s choice like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or others

In the next pages, this proposal will showcase the activity as well as the grading rubic for the activity as revised:


English 101
Mr. Faiella
ENGL Project

Which Character Would Dr. Frankenstein Revive Next?

To understand Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this assignment will require a group of two or three students to work together and role-play as Victor (or “Victoria”) Frankenstein along with any supporting characters of their choice. It is the present-age, Dr. Frankenstein has revived one of the other characters (Elizabeth, Justine, Henry, etc.) and a discussion is taking place over a social media network (Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.). Consider these questions…

  • Who did you choose and why?
  • What are they saying?
  • What are their reactions?
  • What is the impact on the story?

Each group-member will represent a character in a public discussion over a social media network. Each group will be required to submit their scripts of dialogue to the teacher for approval, only relevant and appropriate language will be used for the project. Once approved, the group will be given until the date of presentation to revise and construct a presentation for the class. You will be graded on several different factors, provided on the grading rubric but it will be in font size of 12’ under Times New Roman of at least five (5) pages for the essay portion.

For optional extra-credit, you may provide visuals to go along with the presentation. For example, you could provide images (or “photos”) with each message or piece of dialogue to illustrate the conversation between characters with in-depth immersion into character. These extra-credits will be judged and administered by the teacher in addition to the final grade.


05/02 – selection of group members; followed by group discussion

05/04 – group discussion; work on script of dialogue

05/09 – submission of script to teacher prior to presentation

05/18 – presentation

05/21 – grades

Please talk to the teacher for any questions or concerns, and enjoy the activity.



Rubric and Grade Sheet

  Above Average
(25 points)
Slightly Above
(20 points)
(15 points)
Slightly Below
(10 points)
Below Average
(5 – 0 points)
Character Role-Play: Taken the character’s personality completely, Taken the character’s personality with precise examination Taken the character’s personality with moderate emphasis on performance Taken the character’s personality but with little clarity and lacked conviction Taken the character’s personality with little to no understanding of the character
Effect on Frankenstein: Anticipated how the story would change completely by the character’s revival Anticipated how the strong of a change with an interesting, original theory Demonstrated how the story may change partially, taking few aspects into account Demonstrated how the story may change but lacks strong connection or reasoning Guessed little to no change to the story by the character’s revival with no evidence or reasoning
Dialogue: Exchanged with authenticity in speech while improvising present-age language Spoken with authenticity in speech but lacked some improvising or melding Exchanged between characters through lacked in smooth interaction Spoken with minor infractions in character, improperly strung together Little to no effort made into the speech between characters or not approved by teacher
Presentation Engaged with the audience, explained their group project with clarity and distinction Engaged with the audience and explained their group project but left minor details or caused errors Presented in an agreeable manner through lacked some group participation The group had trouble presentation, little to no effort in working together The group made little to no effort in presenting their project, weak communication
(common grammar, spelling, vocabulary, page-count, etc.):
Well written, detailed. Exceed the requirements and the least amount of errors Written with strong points. Met the most requirements and a few minor errors A typical explanation. Met the average requirements and some errors Lacking in reasoning. Met the bare minimum requirements with more errors than expected Written with little to no explanation. Met the least number of requirements with numerous errors


Name: ________________________

Final Grade: _____ out of 125 points



Battershill, Claire, and Ross, Shawna. Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom: A Practical

Introduction for Teachers, Lecturers and Students. Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.

Bissonette, Melissa B. “Teaching the Monster: Frankenstein and Critical Thinking.” College

Literature, vol. 37, no. 3, 2010, pp. 106-0_9, ProQuest,

Dalbello, Marija. “A Genealogy of Digital Humanities.” Journal of Documentation, vol. 67, no.

3, 2011, pp. 480-506, ProQuest,


Fan, Lai-Tze. “”Efficient” Creativity and the Residue of the Humanities.” English Studies in

Canada, vol. 40, no. 2, 2014, pp. 19-24, ProQuest,

Freese, Stephanie F. The Relationship between Teacher Caring and Student Engagement in

Academic High School Classes, Hofstra University, Ann Arbor, 1999, ProQuest,

Koehler, Adam. Composition, Creative Writing Studies and the Digital Humanities. Bloomsbury

Academic, 2017.

Macdonald, D.L., Scherf, Kathleen, ed. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. By Mary

Wollstonecraft Shelley. Ontario, Canada: Broadview Editions, 2012.

Matsunaga, Bruce. Romantic Cyber-Engagement Three Digital Humanities Projects in

Romanticism, Arizona State University, Ann Arbor, 2013, ProQuest,

McVey, David. “Why all Writing is Creative Writing.” Innovations in Education and Teaching

International, vol. 45, no. 3, 2008, pp. 289-294, ProQuest,

O’Neill, ,C.E. “Composition, Creative Writing Studies, and the Digital Humanities.” Choice, vol.

54, no. 11, 2017, pp. 1633, ProQuest,

Rajaratnam, Ravi. Themes and Patterns Explored in the Decline of Student Engagement: An


Exploratory Case Study, The University of the Rockies, Ann Arbor, 2018, ProQuest,


Roszak, Theodore. The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein. Bantam Books, 1996.


Siemens, Raymond George, and Susan Schreibman. A Companion to Digital Literary Studies.


Wiley-Blackwell, 2013


Vanderslice, Stephanie. “Beyond the Tipping Point: Creative Writing Comes of Age.” College

English, vol. 78, no. 6, 2016, pp. 602-613, ProQuest,

Project Proposal – Draft

The Monstrosity of Reading in Context

When I first proposed my project, I thought that a classroom assignment would be more interesting seeing as I’ve never tried organizing one before (see previous post to understand why my project is changing in direction). The project that I previously proposed had no focus and introduced a variety of themes, one of which was the function of language in conversation. I have decided to stick with the 1818 edition, rather than compare the two texts as it would be too ambitious of a project in this given time frame.

When I first approached Frankenstein in the extra credit assignment, I started to see a trend in Safie, recognized as the Arabian, and her father, the Turk. One of the questions I hope to answer in my final paper is why Mary Shelley chose to interchangeably use different identifiers throughout the text. Why is Henry Clerval not referred to with an identifier?

Furthermore, with Frankenstein, one of the key aspects I noticed was the acquisition of language and the authority envisioned by the characters through their interaction(s) with one another. To approach this project, I am comparing the acquisition of language through the monster’s perspective versus how Victor Frankenstein treats language in interactions with others (e.g. Henry Clerval).  By narrowing it down to a category for comparison, I will be able to take a pedagogical approach on how the name functions, especially through postcolonial criticism. How are the characters exploited through their loss of a name? or through dominant languages? The digital tool I will be using is Keyword in Context and I will use it to assist my analysis rather than as the primary method of research.

When researching, I found a variety of sources referring to Frankenstein as a postcolonial text, I started to stumble on other questions. Why didn’t any characters leave Europe? Why does Safie adopt the cottagers language rather than teach them hers? I will evaluate the postcolonial frame that Shelley introduces even through Victor Frankenstein’s education (Ingolstadt, for one) in contrast to the monster who is educated through observation. What is being exploited and how is this put into context in how the story is set up?

Looking at words and the frequency of them in the characters’ interactions will allow me to create a foundation of evidence for how Victor and the creature treat others. There is a western approach in how they move towards this encapsulation of language. The subplots are the main focus of this research as they are key points where the two encounter sub-characters and attempt to establish power through language. How does this speak to the larger context of European conquest and exploration of other cultures (540)?


Some of the sources I am working on:

Christie, William. “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: A Critical and Cultural Heritage.” The Two Romanticisms and Other Essays: Mystery and Interpretation in Romantic Literature, Sydney University Press, AUSTRALIA, 2016, pp. 231–268. JSTOR,

DIX, HYWEL ROWLAND. “Postcolonial Britain.” After Raymond Williams: Cultural Materialism and the Break-Up of Britain, 2nd ed., University of Wales Press, 2013, pp. 111–142. JSTOR,

Ransom, Amy J. “Mary Shelley’s ‘Hideous Progeny.’” Science Fiction Studies, vol. 37, no. 2, 2010, pp. 314–316. JSTOR, JSTOR,

SUDAN, RAJANI. “Fair Exotics: Two Case Histories in Frankenstein and Villette.” Fair Exotics: Xenophobic Subjects in English Literature, 1720-1850, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002, pp. 117–147. JSTOR,

Story Sentiment?

Story and plot are seemingly synonymous ideas often used interchangeably in discussions of literature, however, the two are very different aspects of a narrative. Highly debated since Aristotle first coined plot in his dramatic theory work, Poetics, many authors have since begun identifying differences between story and plot. Within Russian formalism syuzhet (story) and fabula (plot) are used to denote narrative construction. The fabula is the raw material and the story is the order of that material. To expand, a narrative must have a beginning, middle, and end— and the plot encompasses these necessities. However, the order of those parts is what makes up the story. For example, authors may choose to withhold certain information until the end of a story, such as Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Her twist ending never changes the plot, but affects the story, reception, understanding, and emotion within the novel itself.

I plan on using the framework structure of Frankenstein and the Syuzhet Program by Matthew Jockers to work on a further understanding of story/syuzhet through sentiment values. To do this I have reached out to Professor Jockers and I am working on creating a new coding string to analyze Frankenstein’s different frames within the narrative. As we have discussed many times in class the story is made up of Walton’s storyline, Frankenstein’s storyline, and the Creature’s storyline. I plan on juxtaposing the three storylines to the overall novel’s and comparing the emotional valences found in each. This comes with its own set of difficulties as I need to decide where one framework ends and another begins, and while these divisions are mostly accepted still give me more power of interpretation on the frames themselves. Within the Syuzhet program I must also ensure each section is measured on a similar scale of length, which will mean I will run multiple graph comparisons, first of the sections themselves and then those comparisons to the overall novel. This is proving difficult as Walton’s frame is comprised of 30 pages total— around 7 letters worth, while Frankenstein’s is most of the novel itself. In order to streamline the findings I need to stretch certain narratives across similar page lengths, which will make the peaks and valleys of the graph less austere. So many comparisons and graphs will need to be made.

Other pitfalls I am grappling with is the fact that while the story is made up of frames, it is also Walton’s rendition of Frankenstein’s story and Frankenstein’s rendition of the Creature’s story. Each frame is not necessarily objective as we are to understand it is Walton’s record of the oral tradition from Frankenstein himself. I enjoy thinking of this point as it makes the project almost unethical, do these characters have agency or a voice? Are the sentiments expressed legitimate?

This project will open up my eyes to the current discourse on plot and story, and I will be able to use many examples within one text to create more evidence and more data to interpret. I am excited to see how the coding will turn out, but Professor Jockers and I are still working on creating the code. If that falls through I can manually create text files for each section, but at this point I have not created any new graphs or I would have shared them today to visualize this exposition. I look forward to furthering my understanding of sentiment analysis in regards to story and plot and potentially better understanding the main characters in Frankenstein. (584)

Original Post

Digital Tools in Teaching Literature.

This proposal would be an outline for my research on developing new methods for teaching freshmen students the basics in literature. The syllabus covers classic novels. Students must choose one novel to focus on during the semester and they must follow the teacher’s sample. For example, I chose Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The project is based on a digital mapping of the book. This map identifies the main character, themes, writing style, and the author’s biography. The highlight of this course is to cover the literature in periods of time like Victorian, Romanticism, or Renaissance eras. Covering essential arts during these eras with historical and social influences can be overwhelming for first year college students. Therefore, the visibility of themes in many novels presented by maps makes analysis understandable. Also, students get a better understanding of the specific terms from the assigned novels that the course aims to convey. Students may notice at the end of their graphs the common themes, motifs, and the metaphoric language which concludes the purpose of this course. Students will closely read their novel to analyze the biography of the writer, the characters in the novel, the thematic proposals, and the symbolic images. They are expected to find these elements and digitally place them in their maps. In the Frankenstein example, the student will explain the novel and discuss with the rest of the class why Shelley made two versions of Frankenstein and her other decisions. Students can examine the social, historical, and economical interactions that toned Frankenstein. John A. Walsh, in his article Multimedia and Multitasking: A Survey of Digital Resources for Nineteenth-Century Literary Studies, says “When studying a work of digital literature, as with any cultural artifact, we must choose where to focus our attention.”  The outcome of this specific map is to show a novel on one screen. It goes beyond the novel to discuss the ideas of it and approach the literary aspects that develops a clear visualization of intangible themes of that Romanticism era.

In Frankenstein, as Shelley picks up the Romantic language style in science fiction, she maintains the biblical traditions and social concerns by quoting Paradise Lost. Even though it is not explicitly stated in the course goals, linking the literature period acts as a platform in studying literature. In reading novels, the reader draws an imaginary graph in his or her mind. This graph links the character in the novel to their actions and links the novel with the author’s life to the surrounding world. This psychologic process allows the reader to imagine the novel and its history, yet with advanced technology today, this can be drawn into reality as a tree or map. By using these tools, students can express their visualization of novels and transfer their thoughts to practical arguments. There is no doubt that these graphs can be debated for their vagueness. However, using digital tools to graph these novels has overcome this issue. Creating digital graphs about a novel where the student can insert website links, explanatory notes, and related topics presents the novel perfectly. Tools such as MindView, TimeLine, and Ngram Viewer are new ways that benefit not only the literature course but digital humanities as a whole. In reading the two editions of Frankenstein, students will begin with comparing the digital version verses the paper copy one. This process can be time consuming, but surprisingly it is the opposite. In fact, students can learn about a number of novels and achieve the goal of the course faster. Due to the simplicity and efficiency of digital tools, students can calculate the language and locate information with primary tools for the course clearly. In the beginning, MindView can be used as a tool where students will learn how to build a digital map of Frankenstein. They can use Ngram to make a clear comparison of the 1818 and 1831 editions and the changes that Shelley took. Also, they can use TimeLine to identify setting and how the changes affect the reading of the text. Towards the end of the course, students can download MapView as a PDF to outline their thesis paper as well as a PowerPoint copy to present to their class. By using these three tools, students can enhance their understanding of the course. Therefore, this will enhance their creativity in writings as well. In conclusion, technology would be beneficial for humanities studies because it would make literature more engaging and interesting to learn.


Moretti, Franco. “Patterns and Interpretation.” Literary Lab Pamphlet, Sept. 2015, doi:ISSN 2164-1757.

Damian-Grint, Peter, Eighteenth-Century Literature in English and Other languages: Image, Text, and Hyertext. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.

Saltz, David Z, Multimedia and Multitasking: A Survey of Digital Resources for Nineteenth-Century Literary Studies. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.

Saltz, David Z, Digital Literary Studies: Performance and Interaction. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.

Wittern, Christian, Character Encoding. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.

The Connection Between Digital Humanities and Close Reading

As a literature major, reading and analyzing texts, has become a routine procedure. Of course, when close reading a literary piece of work, a reader always tries to consider how else and what other ways they can further look into the text, and what other scopes they may use, and this is when digital humanities comes in. Personally what I enjoy most about literature is analyzing a text, so I am always looking into considering how other literary scholars view certain words, lines, passages and chapters. I always analyze a text with a limited scope, which is just understanding the text through my own interpretations. Sometimes if this texts was taught in a lecture course, I benefit from the class discussions and experience other ideas and looks on the text. This is also still limited, and I would like to research how digital humanities expands the scope of close reading. When a reader goes to the internet and other forms of social and digital media, they have full unlimited access to all forms of analysis on any text they want. There are fanbases for certain authors dedicated to comparing the author’s life work. There are blog posts on any topic in literature or even how a certain word has different meanings. Of course, delving into the digital humanities, does not only expand the reader towards more interpretations of a literary text. The benefit of the digital world is that it is a worldwide phenomenon. How people close read a piece of work and interpret it, is based on their own cultures and beliefs. How the environment they were raised in affects how they interpret a text, but imagine going into the digital world and not only being exposed to a vast group of people, but be exposed to ideas and interpretation from all societies and cultures. I grew up my entire life, living from society to society, culture to culture, but not everyone gets to have the chance to travel and be exposed to the different lifestyles present in the world. With the digital world, it makes it simple for readers to travel the world and communicate with others in the world. Readers do not necessarily have to communicate with others about the text, they can get to know each other and learn about a country they discovered in a book. I just feel that digital humanities expands knowledge. In my undergraduate career, I was taught that reading allows one to travel into the world of the book when reading, but with digital humanities being involved, the reader not only travels into the world of the book, they have the ability to enter any search topic they want online and enter a world dedicated to the book as well as the topic, perhaps even learn more about the author and about the environment of the text. The digital world is a vast world, but it allows a stronger sense of intimacy between a reader and a literary text, since it allows them to explore more from the text than what they would have explored if they had not used the digital sources when interpreting texts. This is why I would like to research how digital humanities expands the world of close reading and allows for their to be a deeper relationship between the reader and the text.



Ciccoricco , David. “The Materialities of Close Reading: 1942, 1959, 2009.” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: The Materialities of Close Reading: 1942, 1959, 2009, 2012,
Hicks, Troy. “Actually Achieving Close Reading With Digital Tools.” TeachThought, 11 Jan. 2016,
Jacqui. “3 Digital Tools to Encourage Close Reading.” Ask a Tech Teacher, 14 May 2015,
Schoenbart, Adam. “Improving Literacy with Technology: Close Reading and Argument with Newsela.” Tech Learning, 8 Apr. 2016,
Zorfass, Judy. “Using Technology to Support Close Reading.” Read Tech Matters Blog | Power Up What Works, 9 Oct. 2014,

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Frankenstein: What’s in a name?

This project would be developed for college students in an introductory literature course. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, there is the question of visibility in characters when they are not addressed by their name but rather an identifier. How are foreign languages treated in the text and how does this affect the way foreign characters are identified? This project will look specifically from the monster’s point of view in Chapters 13-14 in particular, and how the cottagers interact. An example of this is when Safie is referred to as “the Arabian” while her father is referred to as “the Turk” with subtle mentions of their names a few more times throughout the text. Quantitative analysis would work well in teaching students to find patterns in texts versus merely looking at authorship (“Quantitative”). This method is useful as we start to accumulate more electronic texts, and it helps build on increasing critical analysis apart from author’s intent.

Students will begin by pairing up in either groups of three or four and once assigned with a character, they are expected to go through and find places in the text where their character is not referred to by their name. They will discuss with one another why Shelley did that, and why the narrator would make these choices. By focusing on single variables (such as word length or sentence length), students can examine the interactions and tones that come out of how these unnamed characters are approached. In fact, in Frankenstein, as Safie starts to pick up the language of the cottagers, so does the monster, although it is not always explicitly shown.

Assigned readings and articles are mandatory for students, some of which will begin with the origin of language and then leading to practicing with the primary tools/modules for the course. The first tool students will explore is Juxta, where they will learn to compare the 1818 and 1831 editions and the changes that Shelley took. Each group will look at places where their characters are addressed and how the changes/edits affect the reading of the text. They are expected to write a reflection (or blog!) on their experience and interesting shifts they noticed.

The primary tool students will use antConc to look at the variance of certain names preferred over others for their assigned character. antConc performs corpus analysis which will allow students to learn distant-reading. Often, freshmen come into these courses and struggle with developing their own analysis of the text versus simply writing down what the author’s intent was. Students, who are not English majors, will develop critical writing skills and attain diversity in how they approach 18th century texts (or any old text really!) .


Allen, Sidney. “Ancient Ideas on the Origin and Development of Language.” Transactions of the Philological Society, 47.1 (1948): 35-60. Web.

Choudhury, G. Sayeed and David Seaman. “The Virtual Library.” A Companion to Digital Literary Studies, ed. Susan Schreibman and Ray Siemens, Oxford: Blackwell, 2008,

David, Hoover. “Quantitative Analysis and Literary Studies.” A Companion to Digital Literary Studies, ed. Susan Schreibman and Ray Siemens, Oxford: Blackwell, 2008,

Rifkin, Benjamin. “Attending to Learner Diversity in the Lesson Plan: Planning for Intensity of Engagement.” NECTFL Review, vol. 61, 2007, pp. 99-108, ProQuest. 

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. Ed. D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf, 3rd ed., Broadview Editions, 2012. Print.


“The Nameless Mode of Naming the Unnameable”: (Un)coding the Non-human in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

For centuries, philosophers have grappled with the ontological issue of what it means to be human. In her seminal novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley examines and challenges this very question. Shelley’s protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, endeavors to artificially create life, however, at the very moment of animation, he vehemently rejects his creation. Instead of being elated by his success, he is immediately repulsed by the “demoniacal corpse.” His rejection of the creature at that moment, which is continued throughout the remainder of the novel, functions as the catalyst for the creature’s subsequent violent and murderous actions.

Frontispiece of the 1831 edition of “Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus” (British Library)

Much like both the creature’s fragmented body and the novel’s corresponding narrative bricolage, my project consists of multiple parts. The first part will focus on Shelley’s textual descriptions of the creature in the 1818 edition of the novel. I will examine how her decision to leave this character unnamed, instead referring to him throughout the text by various sub-human descriptors such as “dæmon,” “animal,” and “fiend,” reinforces the binary division between human and nonhuman.

The second part of my project will focus on how Shelley’s literary treatment of the creature evolved between the 1818 edition and the later 1831 published text. While I recognize that this type of a comparison could potentially expand to a much larger project, I plan to narrowly focus my examination on Shelley’s descriptions of the creature by conducting a variant analysis of the two texts using Juxta Commons. For my witnesses, I will use the existing online texts of the 1818 and 1831 editions edited by Stuart Curran.

Image of sample variant analysis on Juxta Commons

The third and final part of my project will conclude by further exploring the binary distinction that Shelley created between human and non-human, but will be situated in the larger realm of digital humanities. Specifically, I plan to examine the challenge that “naming the unnameable” creates when attempting to code the character of Frankenstein’s monster in a current digitization project.

While the scholarly body of work on Frankenstein is expansive, both in terms of the depth and breadth of previous academic explorations, based on the research that I have done thus far, I have not found any similar projects with my specific focus (though I hope that as I continue to work on this project, I will find some other examples on which to base or model my work). The two primary questions that I plan to explore in my final project are:  What issues arise by the naming, or not naming, of the creature, both in terms of computer programming and in literary analysis? What does that tell us about how we as readers and as scholars make the distinction between human and the ‘other’?



“Articulating the Abstract: Theories of the Unnameable.” The Unnameable Monster in Literature and Film, by Maria Beville. Routledge, 2013, pp. 51–69.

Burnard, Lou. What is the Text Encoding Initiative? How to Add Intelligent Markup to Digital Resources. Marseille: Open Edition Press, 2014. Web. <>.

Carroll, Noel. “The Nature of Horror.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 46, no. 1, 1987, pp. 51–59.

Cummings, James. “The Text Encoding Initiative and the Study of Literature.” A Companion to Digital Literary Studies, edited by Ray Siemens and Susan Schreibman. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008,

Duyfhuizen, Bernard. “Periphrastic Naming in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Studies in the Novel, vol. 27, no. 4, 1 Dec. 1995, pp. 477–492.

Hockey, Susan M. Electronic Texts in the Humanities: Principles and Practice. Oxford University Press, 2001.

“Frankenstein and the Unnameable.” Gothic Fiction/Gothic Form, by George E. Haggerty. Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989, pp. 37–63.

“A Gentle Introduction to XML – The TEI Guidelines.” P5: Guidelines for Electronic Text Encoding and Interchange, TEI Consortium, 31 Jan. 2018,

McGann, Jerome. “Marking Texts of Many Dimensions.” Edited by Susan Schreibman et al., A Companion to Digital Humanities. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004,

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Edited by Stuart Curran, Romantic Circles, University of Maryland, 1 May 2009,

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. Ed. D.L. Macdonald and Kathleen Scherf, 3rd ed., Broadview Editions, 2012. Print.

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