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A Jane Austen Education

  by William Deresiewicz

(about 283 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:

could—what I had to do—to distance myself from both. I had wanted to be on my own, and now I was. I just didn’t realize quite how on my own I was going to be. When you’re young—when you’re in high school and college and even your early twenties—you take your friends for granted. Of course they’ll always be there. You take friends for granted. Why would you ever have trouble making new ones? Then all of a sudden—and it can feel very sudden indeedeverybody’s gone. Some have moved, some have married, everyone’s busy, and the crowd of potential friends by which you’ve always been surrounded has evaporated. I still didn’t want to get married, but I didn’t want to be alone, either. Yet just as it was for Anne, that’s how it was starting to look like it was always going to be for me. I still loved living in my own place and being out from under my father’s shadow, but my Austen chapter wasn’t taking me forever just because it gave me so much work to do. A lot of days, I didn’t even have the strength to face it. I would drag myself out of bed, only to sit around and stare off into space. The air would sag, the clock would point its contemptuous hands, my cat would look at me and seem to wonder why I wasn’t moving. I would feel ugly and worthless. Anne was depressed—that’s houses and old haunts, gave me the backstories, introduced me to the people she’d been telling me about. She was retracing her life, and weaving me into it. I set up my computer in her living room and started hammering out the introduction to my dissertation, the last piece left. I turned her on to Leonard Cohen, with whom I’d been obsessed since the darkest days of my depression, and she taught me how to drink martinis. I hid about a half dozen presents all over the apartment on her birthday that July, and she baked me fortune cookies with naughty messages inside. Of course, my little gray cat had come with me for the summer—she would curl up on the pillow between us—and when I went back to Brooklyn at the end of August, I left her in my girlfriend’s care, to keep a little piece of me with her. It wasn’t long before they both were back. By the end of the year, my girlfriend had packed up and moved in with me. Now my city became hers, too. We ate black bean cakes in Chinatown, blini in Brighton Beach, and bowls of flaczki at Christine’s. We watched the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset from the railing of the Promenade. The owner of a shop in Little Italy helped us toast our relationship with tiny cups of fifty-year-old balsamic vinegar that he pulled out from the back of the store, as thick and sweet as maple syrup

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 1415.44 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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