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Jane Austen: The Secret Radical

  by Helena Kelly

(about 430 pages)
total words
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
passive voice
of all the books in our library
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library

clippings from this book

We’ve analyzed hundreds of millions of words, from thousands of different authors, training our linguistic models to recognize the most vivid words in the English language… the words that create the most intense sensory experiences: colors, textures, sounds, flavors, and aromas.

Based on our analysis, we’ve scanned through the pages of this book to find the two pages at the extremes, both the most-passive and the most-vivid pages, so that you can compare them side-by-side and see the difference:

publisher Richard Crosby, and it’s him I come back to. Because in the end, Jane was perfectly right to have beenmad” with Crosby & Co. It was the publisher’s fault that Susan—Northanger Abbey—wasn’t ever read by the audience it had been intended for. And that first failure might well have been responsible for what looks like a substantial delay in sending out the books we know as Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, with the result that they, too, were never read in the context their author had intended. They were misread, by most at least, as light and delightful, not as anything more substantial. And by then, the damage had been done. Critics, convinced that they understood the kinds of novels Jane was writing, ignored the less comfortable, more challenging ideas in Emma and Persuasion, or, where a pretense of ignorance was impossible, as with Mansfield Park, pretended that the novel didn’t exist. If Jane’s first novels had appeared earlier, when they were meant to, they could never have been so thoroughly, so almost universally, misunderstood. The family could have concealed and equivocated as much as they liked; their efforts wouldn’t have been as successful. All the presumptions and preconceptions—they wouldn’t have been able to take root in the way that they did. From the very beginning, we would all have approached Jane differently; we would have read her differently. We’d have seen her more for what she was. Because in the end it doesn’t even on her cursory examination, she registered the novel’s interest in food. In Emma, Jane devotes an extraordinary amount of time and attention to what people eat—far more than in any of her other novels. Wedding cake, chicken, oysters, eggs, apple tarts, roast pork and roast mutton, stilton cheese, pigeon pies and cold lamb, baked apples, rice pudding, walnuts, gingerbread, strawberries, cold meat, turnips, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, celery, bread and butter, apple dumplings—Emma covers food for every appetite and every budget, from “nice smooth gruel” for rich hypochondriacs to broth handed out to the poor. Unlike Jane’s other heroines, Emma Woodhouse ishandsome, clever, and rich”; we learn these things about her in the first line of the first chapter of the novel that bears her name. At the age of nearly twenty-one, Emma has had, her creator tells us, “very little to distress or vex her,” unlike any of the other young people we encounter—the bastard Harriet Smith; the orphaned Jane Fairfax, destined to be a governess; Frank Churchill, subject to the whims of his controlling adoptive mother. Emma’s personal fortune is enormous: £30,000, a sum that, cautiously invested in government funds, would bring in around £1,500 a year. Even if she didn’t stand to inherit the family house, Hartfield, along with her sister, Emma could very well afford her own home and still live comfortably. In an era of war and uncertainty, Emma is secure, unassailable. She is, in fact, bored to tears

emotional story arc

Click anywhere on the chart to see the most significant emotional words — both positive & negative — from the corresponding section of the text…
This chart visualizes the the shifting emotional balance for the arc of this story, based on the emotional strength of the words in the prose, using techniques pioneered by the UVM Computational Story Lab. To create this story arc, we divided the complete manuscript text into 50 equal-sized chunks, each with 2147.98 words, and then we scored each section by counting the number of strongly-emotional words, both positive and negative. The bars in the chart move downward whenever there’s conflict and sadness, and they move upward when conflicts are resolved, or when the characters are happy and content. The size of each bar represents the positive or negative word-count of that section.

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