Visualizing Lexical Novelty in Literature

September 19, 2011
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Novels are full of new characters, new locations and new expressions. The discourse between characters involves new ideas being exchanged. We can get a hint of this by tracking the introduction of new terms in a novel. In the below visualizations (in which each column represents a chapter and each small block a paragraph of text), I maintain a variable which represents novelty. When a paragraph contains more than 25% new terms (i.e. words that have not been observed thus far) this variable is set at its maximum of 1.
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