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Austen Years

  by Rachel Cohen

(about 364 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:

was thirty-nine, M was forty, we had had two decades of complicated friendship, missed chances, other relationships. It still seemed very near to me, the lives that might have been. I had been with women and men, relationships serious, deep, but I had not been able to promise permanence. Writing from within a household had made me territorial and secretive; I had followed the writing out of the relationships. It had been when I had learned, the first time, that my father had cancer, that I had gone through a year of loneliness and change that I could no longer postpone. Second chances may come when some chances are gone. Austen is always described as witty, stylish, but Persuasion is a melancholy book. Anne is still in mourning for her mother. I loved its odd mixture of sorrow and hope. As month followed month, I sometimes said to friends, bookish friends, that Austen was all I read. They were usually somewhere between encouraging and tactful. “Austen is domestic,” one said, looking around at our living room, which was littered with objects that I by then categorized as intended to be chewed on and not safe to chew on. The implication, one I couldn’t entirely disagree with, was that my sphere of life had been constrained more or less to the walls of our house, and that naturally I would read something drawn to similar dimensions. It was 2012 when S was born. Until I was pregnant and my father was that as I trudged down the snow-thickened streets, I couldn’t really believe that he was dead, and at the same time, I had the distinct idea that he was a comet, and I could feel a strange lift in the upper reaches of my mind, of him departing our skies. When you enter Gallup Park, you walk over a curved wooden bridge, just wide enough for a car to drive over, and from that bridge you can see the Huron River in both directions. Stretching east, you can follow the river path all the way down to the high bridge. But we usually go on so that we can turn toward the west, where the water runs wide and widely sheltered, with trees on both sides, where there are more waterbirds. A little ways on, there is a path to the left where you can walk out on a long protected bit of bog, with planked walkways at low points. There you are really among the trees, they tug at your coat with their winter berries, and the little coves and inlets are full of ducks and other birds. I saw a flock of birds the day I walked out. Because I took pictures, I know that there were thirteen swans, swimming in the icy water and walking about, and four large white ducks with orange bills, and twenty-six smaller dark ducks, many of them sitting huddled in the snow. I took pictures of the tracks, too, from the birds

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 1822.08 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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