How can you do distant reading?

Paper & Pencil Task

Now it is time for you to do some distant reading.

Visit the Google Ngram Viewer. If you are not familiar with Ngram, you can find some more information about it here. Depending on your preferences, enter three words or phrases and report on the results of your search, detailing what you have learned. You may choose between three different types of entry:

  1. Ezra Pound and the names of two other modernist writers.

  2. A word from Ezra Pound’s ‘In a Station of the Metro’ and two related/similar words.

  3. The title of Ezra Pound’s ‘In a Station of the Metro’ (in the Google Ngram Viewer, you need to abbreviate it to five words) and the titles of two other modernist poems.

Note that the format you have to use for Google Ngram Viewer is Word,Word,Word or Phrase,Phrase,Phrase (with no spaces between words or phrases). Make sure you also try out different date ranges and different corpora.

As an addendum: if this is your thing, you may also want to try out a number of additional visualization tools freely available on the world wide web: WordCAKE, WordArt, or TreeCloud.


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