May 3, 2011

· Books · Data · Sociology

The current issue of New Left Review has an article by Franco Moretti applying a bit of network analysis to the interactions within some pieces of literature. Here is the interaction network in Hamlet, with a tie being defined by whether the characters speak to one another. (Notice that this means that, e.g., Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do not have a tie, even though they’re in the same scenes.)

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And here is Hamlet without Hamlet:

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I think we can safely say that he is a key figure in the network. Though the Prince may be less crucial than he thinks, as Horatio seems to be pretty well positioned, too. Lots more in the article itself.

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I am Professor of Sociology at Duke University. I’m affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Markets and Management Studies program, and the Duke Network Analysis Center. Learn more.

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