The inimitable David McClure came to Davidson last week to talk to students and faculty about Neatline, things DH and app development. While speaking in Mark’s class, he introduced textplot – a neat little tool that produces a co-occurrence network of words in a text, depending on whether they occur in proximity to one another. I’m working on a Neatline map of George Soper’s account of his role in the pursuit and medical incarceration of Mary Mallon – better known as Typhoid Mary – but I hadn’t thought much about Soper’s text as a literary text – I’d been treating it much more as a spatially oriented primary source.
Here’s a first stab at running textplot over “The Curious Career…” – it’s an oddly rambling visualization because the text itself is so short, and proceeds at such a rapid clip. Soper does not often return to a theme he has already introduced, leaving little for textplot to pick up on in terms of recurring clusters of words. However, the centrality of some words (explained, examined) are a nice visual reminder that, despite acknowledging her humanity at several points, Soper was largely approaching Mary Mallon as a medical specimen.
Hopefully a more traditional (spatial) map of Soper will follow shortly.