Monday, December 05, 2016

Visualization: Books without Letters and Numbers #JustMessing #27

Thinking about my new Data Visualization module next semester I came across Nicholas Rougeux who likes to visualise books in patterns without words. I thought I'd check out a few books available at the Gutenberg Project. I selected four classic books:
  • "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens
  • "Ulysses" by James Joyce
  • "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
  • "The Illiad" by Homer
I stripped out all words, letters and numbers. I also remove square brackets and hyphens. All that was left were punctuation symbols. Each book looks very different. Tolstoy uses a lot more quotation marks than the others. Dickens uses a lot of exclamation marks, as does Joyce - the latter's work seems to be mostly commas and full stops. Joyce's last chapter (18) in Ulysses famously has no punctuation marks at all - so this does not feature in the stripped down version. Homer's Illiad looks the simplest of the lot.

It's just a different, and meaningless, way to visualise text. I'm sure it would be possible to identify someone's work based their punctuation patterns if for example a long lost text was found reputed to be from a famous author. There's no hidden meaning from any of this work - just a different way of looking at things.

A Tale of Two Cities.


War and Peace.

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