Research Projects: Possible topics

  • The Van Gogh Correspondence website gives access to a large number of letters written to or by Vincent van Gogh. If we compare the style of letters written during the first phase of Van Gogh’s artistic career to that of the letters during the last years of Van Gogh’s life, can we observe signs of a mental decline?
  • Rudyard Kipling wrote a number of short stories set in India. Some of these stories have a British narrator, and some of these relate all events from an Indian perspective. Are there formal differences between these two different types of stories?
  • Various critics have noted that the literary style of William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence” differs in a number of important ways from the style of his “Songs of Experience”. Which quantitative differences can you identify between these two sets of poems?
  • On the Wikipedia page for the so-called split infinitive, it is explained that this linguistic phenomenon was especially common in the nineteenth century. Can we find support for this claim, by comparing texts from the 19c and 20c?
  • How do English translation of Kafka’s Metamorphoses compare to the original n German?
  • All of the plays written by Oscar Wilde can be found on the CELT website. Write an XSLT file to isolate all the lines spoken by male characters and all the lines spoken by female characters. How does the vocabulary differ?
  • Which formal differences can you we between History novels, such as Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, and Gothic novels, such as Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto?
  • Topic Modelling is a relatively new approach within the field of Text Mining. It aims to characterise the semantic contents of a text, on the basis of an analysis of words that co-occur frequently. This type of analysis can done using the MALLET package. Test this software, using a number texts of your own choice, and assess the overall value of Topic Modelling and of the MALLET software.
  • Compare the type/token ratio of all of Jane Austen’s novels, and also analyse the most common words in these works. Which differences and similarities can we observe?