Locational Networks

from

19c Epic Texts and Paratexts

Elisa Beshero-Bondar (@epyllia)

Presentations at Carnegie Mellon U (DH Lunch Lecture 22 March 2019) and Pitt, David Birnbaum's DH class (23 March 2019)  

Link to these slides: http://slides.com/elisabeshero-bondar/thalabanet/

Epic poems at the turn of the 19th century

 

  • planetary scale
  • encyclopedic scope
  • formal experimentation
    • hybrid of poetry and prose notes
    • research poem
    • narrativize big ideas
    • epic similes, analogies
    • organizing citation networks

 

 

The Loves of Plants:

botanical epic

ambition:

an epic poem for each of the world’s cultures

 

 

Background: 1801 Mercator projection world map by John Cary

Source: Javed Majeed, Ungoverned Imaginings: James Mill’s The History of British India and Orientalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992) 53.

 

“. . .as though he were in a laboratory of cultures, experimenting with and constructing different cultural identities.”

Robert Southey‘s cultural appropriations lab?

epic labor: writing . . .

speculative historiography?

 

Epic after Volney‘s Les Ruines

(Ruins of Empires) (1791)

historical fiction?

 

  • epic to outdo classical epic
  • imagine the world according to nonWestern frameworks
    • Orientalist appropriation
    • Experimental space outside of home culture
    • Theoretical work about culture
    • Structured thought: verse forms with prose appendages

anti-classical epic?

Thalaba the Destroyer (1801)

  • Bullet One
  • Bullet Two
  • Bullet Three
         <sourceDesc>
            <p>This text is based on the Project Gutenberg eBook of <bibl>
                  <title>Thalaba the Destroyer</title> by <author>Robert Southey</author>
                  <pubPlace>London</pubPlace>
                  <publisher>PRINTED FOR T. N. LONGMAN AND O. REES</publisher>
                  <pubPlace>PATERNOSTER-ROW, London</pubPlace>
                  <publisher>BY BIGGS AND COTTLE</publisher>
                  <pubPlace>Bristol</pubPlace>,<date>1801</date>. </bibl> Release
               date: <date/> [Ebook #39804] Public domain in the USA. 
           <ref target="http://www.gutenberg.org/files/39804/39804-h/39804-h.htm"/></p>
            <p>This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere 
               at no cost and with almost no
               restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away 
               or re-use it under the terms
               of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook
               or online at www.gutenberg.org/license</p>
         </sourceDesc>
<lg xml:id="B5_lg317">
         <l rend="i0" n="2460">
               <rs type="place" ref="Bagdad" ana="hereNow">Then Pomp and Pleasure 
                dwelt within her walls</rs>
          </l>
          <l rend="i0" n="2461">The Merchants of <placeName ref="the_East" ana="rel">the
                           East</placeName> and of <placeName ref="the_West" ana="rel">the
                           West</placeName></l>
          <l rend="i4" n="2462">Met <rs type="building" subtype="commerce">in her arched
                    <note type="author" anchored="true" xml:id="N_90">
                       <p><rs type="building" subtype="house">The houses</rs> in 
                        <placeName>Persia</placeName> are not in the same place with 
                       <rs type="building" subtype="commerce">their shops, which stand for
                       the most part in long and large arched streets 40 or 50 foot high, 
                       which streets are called Basar or the market</rs>, and
                       make the heart of the city, the houses being in the out parts, and having
                       almost all <rs type="earthworks" subtype="garden">gardens</rs> belonging to 'em. 
                       <bibl>Chardin.</bibl></p>
                       <p> At <placeName>Tauris</placeName> he says, "there are the fairest
                          Basars that are in any place of <placeName>Asia</placeName>, and it
                          is a lovely sight to see their vast extent, their largeness, their
                          beautiful Duomos and the arches over 'em." </p>
                       <p> At <placeName>Bagdad</placeName> the Bazars are all vaulted,
                        otherwise the merchants could not remain in them on account of the
                        heat. They are also watered two or three times a day, and a number
                        of <orgName>the poor</orgName> are paid for rendering this service
                       to <orgName>the public</orgName>. <bibl>Tavernier.</bibl></p>
                           </note> 
                 Bazars;</rs></l>
                     <l rend="i4" n="2463">All day the active poor</l>
                     <l rend="i0" n="2464">Showered a cool comfort o'er her thronging streets;</l>
                           .  .  .
   </lg>

Thalaba, the fatalistic Islamic hero vs.

the Domdaniel Sorcerers‘ electric-powered Automaton

It was a Living Image, by the art
Of magic hands of flesh and bones composed, 
And human blood thro’ veins and arteries 
That flowed with vital action.
In the shape Of Eblis it was made,
Its stature such and such its strength
As when among the Sons of God
Pre-eminent, he raised his radiant head,
Prince of the Morning.
On his brow

A coronet of meteor flames,
Flowing in points of light.
 

Self-poised in air before him,
Hung the Round Altar, rolling like the World
On its diurnal axis, like the World
Checquered with sea and shore,
The work of Demon art.
For where the sceptre in the Idol’s hand

Touched the Round Altar, in its answering realm
Earth felt the stroke, and Ocean rose in storms,

And ruining Cities shaken from their seat
Crushed all their habitants.

His other arm was raised, and its spread palm 
Up-bore the ocean-weight
Whose naked waters arched the sanctuary,

Sole prop and pillar he.
           —Thalaba the Destroyer, Book XII

 

Modeling Southey’s location networks

“Anti-social” network:

 

  • by analogy
  • by juxtaposition of the mythical and mappable
  • cultural dislocations,  meta experiences of “place-ness“ 
  • reading as traveling: what hubs of transit for the flying imagination? 

a conceptual modeling of places

  • response to overemphasis on main plot and characters
  • underemphasis on locational referencing

Epic transportation between “places” and “metaplaces”

Network data format

Ethiopia	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg23	Eden	metaplace	ana

Example:

SourceNode [tab] SourceAtt1 [tab] SourceAtt2 [tab] Edge [tab] TargetNode [tab] TargetAtt1 [tab] TargetAtt2

Ethiopia

Eden

connection formed in a footnote on Book 1 line-group 23

Crash Course in Network Centrality Measures

  • Highest Degree Centrality?
    • Diane
  • Highest Edge-Betweenness?
    • Heather
  • Highest Closeness Centrality?
    • Fernando or Garth
 

XQuery to Network Data: XML to TSV

  • Note: I made my first networks from XSLT. You can use either. For more, see my tutorial and XQuery-to-NA exercise 1 and 2.
  •  You‘re outputting a "plain text" format (TSV) from XML
  • TSV = tab-separated values (like CSV, comma-separated values)
  • Thanks to Wendell Piez for simplifying my XSLT “if-then-else” statements into this quotable XQuery after the TEI conference in Chicago, 2014.  (Yes, you can output text from XSLT.) 
declare default element namespace "http://www.tei-c.org/ns/1.0";
declare namespace elisa='http://elisa.org';

declare function elisa:place-string($place as element()) as xs:string {
  $place/(@ref/normalize-space(.),normalize-space(.))[1]
};

let $places := //(placeName|rs[@type=('place','metaplace') and not(@subtype='language')])

return string-join(
for $place in $places
let $kin := ($place/ancestor::lg//(placeName|rs[@type=('place','metaplace')] except $place))

return
$kin/
string-join(
  (elisa:place-string($place),
   ($place[@type='metaplace']/'metaplace','place')[1], ($place[@ana]/@ana, 'no-ana')[1],
   ($place/ancestor::div[@type='footnotes']/'note','main')[1],
   ancestor::lg/@xml:id,
   elisa:place-string(.),
   (.[@type='metaplace']/'metaplace','place')[1], (.[@ana]/@ana, 'no-ana')[1]
   ),
'&#x9;')

,'&#xA;')

Samples of output data in TSV

bitumen_pit	metaplace	hereNow	main	B5_lg344	Ispahan	place	no-ana
bitumen_pit	metaplace	hereNow	main	B5_lg344	France	place	no-ana
bitumen_pit	metaplace	hereNow	main	B5_lg344	Germany	place	no-ana
bitumen_pit	metaplace	hereNow	main	B5_lg344	Spain	place	no-ana
Irem	place	hereNow	main	B1_lg20	Arabia	place	no-ana
Irem	place	hereNow	main	B1_lg20	Hejaz	place	no-ana
Irem	place	hereNow	main	B1_lg20	Mecca	place	no-ana
Irem	place	hereNow	main	B1_lg20	Hejaz	place	no-ana
Irem	place	hereNow	main	B1_lg20	Red_Hillock	place	no-ana
Irem	place	hereNow	main	B1_lg20	Red_Hillock	place	no-ana
Irem	place	hereNow	main	B1_lg20	Magaith	place	no-ana
Irem	place	hereNow	main	B1_lg20	the_world	place	no-ana
Irem	place	hereNow	main	B1_lg20	Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana
Irem	place	hereNow	main	B1_lg20	Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Irem	place	hereNow
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Hadramaut	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Irem	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	the desarts of Aden	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	sky	metaplace	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Arabia	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Hejaz	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Mecca	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Hejaz	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Red_Hillock	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Red_Hillock	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Magaith	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	the_world	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana
Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana	note	B1_lg20	Al_Ahkaf	place	no-ana

network visualizations vis Cytoscape

By comparison with Erasmus Darwin‘s The Botanic Garden (1791)

The Vampire Metaplace Cluster:
Thalaba network‘s most densely connected clicque

Two path steps from the Vampire Metaplace cluster

replotted to distinguish ”place” from ”metaplace“

Thalaba‘s second most densely clustered clique

the most remote locations on Southey‘s network

(closeness centrality / average shortest path length) 

Reflection / Discussion

  • How do networks help us with epic poems?
  • Understanding imperial “armchair travel“ of the 19c?

 

Further reading (clickable)

Thalaba Locational Network

By Elisa Beshero-Bondar

Thalaba Locational Network

an exploration of network analysis applied to mythical and mappable locations as placed in scientific epic poems at the turn of the 19th-century. Featuring Robert Southey's Thalaba the Destroyer (1801) and Erasmus Darwin's The Temple of Nature (1802).

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