This week in class we are discussing British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism (1793-1815). The collection being referenced can be found on the Romantics Circle website, https://www.rc.umd.edu/editions/warpoetry/index.html. As described on the website, “Romantic Circles is a refereed scholarly Website devoted to the study of Romantic-period literature and
culture. It is the collaborative product of an ever-expanding community of editors, contributors, and users around the world, overseen by a distinguished Advisory Board.” In addition to their archive of electronic editions of Romantic-era texts, the website includes various other resources such as peer-reviewed literary criticism, scholarly resources, a gallery of images, and a pedagogical blog.
The British War Poetry archive features a table of contents searchable by author, title, and date and includes 350 poems. The works of the major Romantic poets are not included in part due to their writing being largely available in other collections. The poems in this archive were collected mainly from newspapers, broadsides, and other periodicals of the day. This collection is significant because during 1793-1815, British society was “being restructured in terms of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic wars, and industrialization.
To continue with the DH tools experiments, I ventured over to The Programming Historian website and browsed their list of lessons. The site developers state “We publish novice-friendly, peer-reviewed tutorials that help humanists learn a wide range of digital tools, techniques, and workflows to facilitate research and teaching. We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community of editors, writers, and readers.” You can find the site at: https://programminghistorian.org/.
I found a lesson on sentiment analysis, but it was more geared towards building your own program and required basic prior programming experience with Python. Since I am not that experienced, I searched for a free sentiment analyzer I could use and found one at https://www.danielsoper.com/sentimentanalysis/default.aspx#.
I began with the first poem in the British War Poetry collection, “An Ode on the Restoration of Freedom to France” written in 1793. Here are the results.
I then chose one from the middle of the period, “The Soldier’s Return” written in 1804.
Finally, I chose one from 1815, “A New Song.”
This site doesn’t give embedded code, but it is easy to take a screen shot of the results for posting online. As you can see from the three images, the tone of the 1793 was negative/serious and was more so for the 1804 poem, but the poem from 1815 was at the opposite end of the spectrum with a very positive/enthusiastic tone. For real analysis, a much larger corpus would be necessary to understand the overall sentiment from each time period, but from this experiment I can see how this tool is useful for quickly grasping the tone of a group of writings.