Friday, 23 September 2011

Spanking little Harriet

I was introduced to a new toy yesterday. Wordle is a clever website that creates word clouds (as in the image above) from any text you feed it. The more often a word occurs in the text, the larger it appears in the cloud. The above is a word cloud of one of my new stories. Isn't it pretty?

As well as being visually pleasing (to my eye, at least), word clouds also make for an interesting form of instant textual representation, reminiscent of concrete poetry: it's almost as if they turn prose into such via a transformative distillation. And while they won't reveal the plot of a story, they certainly provide a hint as to its themes and concerns. I wonder if the Harriet mentioned above is naughty and receives a spanking? It certainly looks like it. And quite possibly in uniform, too...

By way of comparison (but not literary comparison!) here's a word cloud of Jane Eyre:
Ooh, lots of 'now' there. And 'must', too. So peremptory! *swoon*

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