Distant Reading My Dissertation

"The Einstein Phenomenon: Modern American Writers and the Popularization of Relativity"
“The Einstein Phenomenon: Modern American Writers and the Popularization of Relativity”
by Elizabeth Cornell

Word cloud created with Voyant:
Sinclair, S. and G. Rockwell (2013). Cirrus. Voyant. Retrieved March 20, 2013 from http://voyant-tools.org/tool/Cirrus/

For readers who do not have the time or desire to read my dissertation (and why would you?), here is a word cloud and text analysis of my project. A few statistics: This dissertation, without the bibliography and including the footnotes, is 210 pages long and contains 72,532 words and 8,531 unique words.

What does a text analysis reveal that simply reading the dissertation does not, what are its limits, and why should we read our work in this way? Good questions! I will explore them in a future post.

For now, here’s a list of the top five words in the corpus:
Time (573 words)
Relativity (453 words)
Theory (380 words)
Einstein (360 words)
Poetry (217 words)
This list excludes words such as “the” and “and,” which appear 4,554 and 2477 times, respectively.

Author: Elizabeth F. Cornell

Elizabeth F. Cornell is the director of communications for Fordham IT, at Fordham University. Formerly, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the English Department at Fordham.

Leave a Reply