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Research Context

The data provided on this website is derived from the Nation, Genre and Gender project. This was a three-year project which was awarded to Prof. Gerardine Meaney in 2013 and funded by the Irish Research Council. The project was undertaken by members of the UCD English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing, in collaboration with researchers from the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at University College Dublin.

Drawing on existing online literary novels available under creative Commons License and through digitisation as required, this project aims to examine a large corpus of Irish and British novels from the period 1800-1922. It will use this corpus to identify key representative and influential texts for social network analysis, generate visualisations of networks and their development, apply intersectional (gender, class, ethnicity) analysis to network components, correlate with location based metadata and engage in intensive critical analysis.

The project’s main goal is to compare gender, genre and the nationality of the author (or setting) in shaping social networks in fiction. Do the social networks mapped out by cumulative interactions between characters in Irish and British fiction differ from one another? Do the social networks represented in fiction differ substantially on the basis of genre or gender? How does this change across the time period?

Our combination of digital and critical methodologies offers a way of researching the development of the novel in this period which can realistically deal with the radically extended canon of fiction, with its diversity of voices, genres and perspectives. The historical range offers the chance for a longitudinal, transhistorical analysis which can identify consistencies and changes. Does a map of social networks show distinctive patterns of aggregate character interaction characteristic of domestic and social realism? Are there certain characteristics of social networks as represented in gothic, “national tales”, modernist and popular genres? Is the gender of the author and/or the main character significant? Currently the Nation, Genre and Gender corpus covers 44 annotated British and Irish novels, published from 1800 to 1920, which can be explored in detail here.

For more information on this project and the team, please visit the project website and the UCD Centre for Cultural Analytics.

Logo for Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics.


This research was conducted with the financial support of Science Foundation Ireland [12/RC/2289_P2] at Insight the SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at University College Dublin.