About your study carrel

This page outlines the breadth & depth of your "study carrel" -- the results & analysis of your Distant Reader submission. Peruse the content of this page, and then consider learning how to dig deeper by reading the Distant Reader Study Carrel Cookbook. If you want "just the facts", then consider reading this text's synopsis.

Size & scope

First, the simple things. Your study carrel was created through the submission of a [SINGLE URL|FILE OF URLS|FILE FROM YOUR COMPUTER|ZIP FILE]. This ultimately resulted in a collection of 37 item(s). The original versions of these items have been saved in a cache, and each of them have been transformed & saved as a set of plain text files. All of the following analysis has been done against these plain text files.

Your study carrel is 2296890 words long. [0] Each item in your study carrel is, on average, 62078.0 words long. [1] If you dig deeper, then you might want to save yourself some time by reading a shorter item. On the other hand, if your desire is for more detail, then you might consider reading a longer item. The following histograms and box plots illustrate the overall size of your study carrel.


On a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 is very difficult and 100 is very easy, your documents have an average readability score of 63.0. [2] Consequently, if you want to read something more simplistic, then consider a document with a higher score. If you want something more specialized, then consider something with a lower score. The following histograms and box plots illustrate the overall readability of your study carrel.

Word frequencies

By merely counting & tabulating the frequency of individual words or phrases, you can begin to get an understanding of your carrel's "aboutness". Excluding "stop words", some of the more frequent words include: one, art, will, may, us, nature, beauty, must, life, man, form, without, even, work, mind, every, great, first, like, yet, two, beautiful, much, see, things. [3] Using the three most frequent words, the three files containing all of those words the most are ./txt/29907.txt, ./txt/9306.txt, and ./txt/44329.txt.

The most frequent two-word phrases (bigrams) include: crown vo, let us, human nature, one another, des esseintes, illustration fig, every one, edition crown, natural beauty, will find, post vo, human mind, second edition, every thing, one side, old masters, common sense, first place, human life, give us, eighteenth century, one hand, make us, michael angelo, one thing, and the three file that use all of the three most frequent phrases are ./txt/36208.txt ./txt/6798.txt, and ./txt/32337.txt.

While often deemed superficial or sophomoric, rudimentary frequencies and their associated "word clouds" can be quite insightful:




Sets of keywords -- statistically significant words -- can be enumerated by comparing the relative frequency of words with the number of times the words appear in an entire corpus. Some of the most statistically significant keywords in your study carrel include: naturally, nature, beauty, natural, beautiful, form, forms, formed, like, art, arts, beauties, forming, great, likely, thing, things, greatness, life, likeness, mere, merely, natures, new, work. And now word clouds really begin to shine:


Through the use of a concordance -- a keyword-in-context tool, or a "poor man's search engine" -- you can see how words are used in relation to other words. Here is a random sample of concordance entries using the two most significant keyword as input:

e it has no soul to wed to the soul of nature it therefore sees no beauty but now supposin
as we get a total impression of a mans nature by following the story of his life so we get
 instruct you for a tester but he whom nature never meant to share one spark of taste will
 and even so will our artist hold that nature works the letters of natures alphabet which 
ings from the depths of mans spiritual nature and those even who will hear nothing of expr
cy and to be almost a determination of nature and of the soul in so far as it is nature th
behind in a pure analysis not of human nature in toto but of the speculative intellect alo
ower and its resources institutes with nature a contest in which it may have the advantage
e cannot direct them but the forces of nature can only be directed or turned aside up to a
us since everything void of form is by nature fitted for its reception as far as it is des
of nature to enter into communion with nature and through the wedding of himself with natu
l the other characteristics that human nature in general embraces when we find in the work
companionship with nature the heart of nature as here revealed is both dependable and kind
infinite and unapproachable variety of nature intimately associated with this toning down 
is intermediary thesis if the absolute nature of the imagination were denied we should be 
 and who with one thought or memory of nature in his heart could look at the two landscape
 by the sensuous nature or if sensuous nature acting alone in all liberty the expression o
ognize this magnificent chefdoeuvre of nature in the state to which it is reduced under th
s in all things imitates the method of nature and makes its most beautiful works out of ma
ns and commissions of a more important nature what these are me saltem judice will be stat
magination occupied in retracing human nature in the inanimate world and in giving to the 
the ordinary sense or a presentment of nature according to a certain convention impression
ression not followed as it would be in nature by many variations of itself an object so un
ind or vulgar because they took out of nature only what could be represented in agate a du
th of them simply venetian and english nature as they saw it in their time down to the roo

Topic modeling

Topic modeling is another popular approach to connoting the aboutness of a corpus. If your study carrel could be summed up in a single word, then that word might be art, and ./txt/32337.txt is most about that word.

If your study carrel could be summed up in three words ("topics") then those words might be: art, great, and 8vo. And the respective files would be: ./txt/6798.txt, ./txt/44329.txt, and ./txt/12341.txt.

If your study carrel could be summed up in five topics, and each topic were each denoted with three words, then those topics and their most significantly associated files would be:

  1. art nature man - ./txt/6798.txt
  2. art work life - ./txt/32337.txt
  3. iii great ii - ./txt/44329.txt
  4. 8vo art nature - ./txt/29907.txt
  5. nature beauty like - ./txt/12341.txt

Moreover, the totality of the study carrel's aboutness, can be visualized with the following pie chart:

Nouns & verbs

Through an analysis of your study carrel's parts-of-speech, you are able to answer question beyonds aboutness. For example, a list of the most frequent nouns (art, man, nature, form, work, beauty, life, thing, mind, object, time, idea, part, truth, power, artist, word, feeling, picture, expression, world, fact, line, thought, sense) helps you answer what questions; "What is discussed in this collection?" An enumeration of the lemmatized verbs (be, have, do, make, see, give, say, find, take, know, become, feel, come, think, call, seem, look, go, express, speak, show, appear, §, follow, produce) helps you learn what actions take place in a text or what the things in the text do. Very frequently, the most common lemmatized verbs are "be", "have", and "do"; the more interesting verbs usually occur further down the list of frequencies:



Proper nouns & pronouns

An extraction of proper nouns (God, Turner, Crown, Edition, Croce, Mr., Beauty, St., J., Nature, ¦, Footnote, M., Dante, England, Rev., English, Homer, S., heaven, Ã, Fig, W., Italy, Claude) helps you determine the names of people and places in your study carrel. An analysis of personal pronouns (it, we, he, i, they, them, us, him, itself, you, himself, me, themselves, she, ourselves, one, her, myself, herself, thee, yourself, ours, mine, theirs, oneself) enables you to answer at least two questions: 1) "What, if any, is the overall gender of my study carrel?", and 2) "To what degree are the texts in my study carrel self-centered versus inclusive?" Below are words cloud of your study carrel's proper & personal pronouns.

proper nouns


Adjectives & adverbs

Learning about a corpus's adjectives (other, great, such, same, good, own, more, beautiful, true, human, high, first, moral, many, little, certain, aesthetic, different, new, general, much, natural, necessary, real, mere) and adverbs (not, so, only, more, even, as, most, then, now, also, thus, therefore, far, very, always, never, well, up, still, yet, too, out, here, however, ever) helps you answer how questions: "How are things described and how are things done?" An analysis of adjectives and adverbs also points to a corpus's overall sentiment. "In general, is my study carrel positive or negative?"




[0] Once upon a time, a corpus of a million words was deemed large.

[1] To put this into context, the typical scholarly journal article is about [NUMBER] words long, Shakespeare's Hamlet is [NUMBER] words long, and the Bible is [NUMBER] words long.

[2] In this case, a Flesch readability score is being calculated. It is based on things like the number of words in a document, the lengths of the words, the number of sentences, the lengths on the sentences, etc. In general children's stories are have lower Flesch scores while insurance documents and doctoral dissertations have higher scores.

[3] "Stop words" are sometimes called "function words", and they are words which carry little or no meaning. Every language has stop words, and in English they include but are not limited to "the", "a", "an", etc. A single set of stop words has been used through out the analysis of your collection.

[4] Concordances are one of the oldest forms of text mining, first developed in the 13th century to "read" religious documents.

[6] An unsupervised machine learning process, topic modeling is a very popular text mining operation. Assuming that a word is known by the company it keeps, topic modeling identifies sets of keywords denoted by their centrality in the text. Words which are both frequent as well as in close proximity to each other are considered significant.

Eric Lease Morgan <emorgan@nd.edu>
June 11, 2019