A Network Text Analysis of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Starling Hunter, Susan Smith


The hallmark of Network Text Analysis (NTA) is the creation of semantic networks or concept maps from linguistic data. Its key insight—one borrowed from studies in Social Network Analysis—is that the position of concepts within such networks reveals vital information about the meaning of the text as a whole. A second hallmark of NTA is that the structure and size of a network are independent of the frequency of the words of which it is comprised. In this paper we demonstrate the application of NTA to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (HoD). Using morphological and etymological relationships as the basis for the network, we first represent HoD as a network consisting of over 385 nodes. We then compare and contrast the results of our network analysis with those reported in a widely-cited corpus stylistic analysis of HoD. While our results are remarkably consistent with and complementary to results in that study, we also report results not identified in that analysis, results which could only have been identified using NTA.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/elr.v3n2p39


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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

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