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Nation, Genre & Gender: A Comparative Social Network Analysis of British and Irish Fiction, 1800-1922

Saturday, 30 July, 2016



Combining literary and data science expertise, this project maps and analyses social networks in Irish and English fiction, 1800-1922. It explores how writers and readers have imagined the connections between people in their society and turned those connections into plots. The project, funded by the Irish Research Council, has completed work on 46 novels to date. The three initial case studies here are showcased to demonstrate the new perspectives which social network analysis can open up on well known novels.

Social network analysis opens up a new way of looking at James Joyce’s 1916 novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and casts Dublin society at the time in a surprising light. Understanding social networks in Pride and Prejudice allows us to understand more fully how complex and changing relationships drive Austen’s much imitated plot. In one of Anthony Trollope’s Palliser novels, Phineas Finn, we can see the ways in which political and personal networks are intertwined and the impact of political history on literature.

Research Team: Prof Gerardine Meaney, Dr. Derek Greene, Dr. Karen Wade, Dr. Maria Mulvany, Siobhan Grayson and Dr. Jenny Rothwell

Associated Researchers: Prof Pádraig Cunningham, Dr. Anne Mulhall and Dr. Michael Pierse

Management Committee: Prof Gerardine Meaney (Chair), Dr. Anne Mulhall (co-chair), Prof Padraig Cunningham, Prof Nicholas Daly, Dr. Fionnuala Dillane, Prof Margaret Kelleher and Dr. Michael Pierce

Funders: The principal project funding was awarded to Gerardine Meaney and the UCD Humanities Institute in 2013 by the Irish Research Council which is dedicated to funding excellent research within, and between, all disciplines, and in doing so to enhance Ireland’s international reputation as a centre for research and learning. The participation of Derek Greene is supported by UCD Insight. The SFI funded Insight Centre for Data Analytics is one of Europe’s largest data analytics research organisations, with 350 researchers, more than 40 industry partners and over €88 million of funding.

Project Blog: https://theseaofbooks.com