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Datamining for verse in Eighteenth-Century Newsapers

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Fifth British Library Labs (BL Labs) Symposium, Monday October 30, 2017.
11:35 - 12:05 Datamining verse in 18th Century newspapers
Jennifer Batt, Lecturer in English at the University of Bristol

This project will report on an investigation in finding verse using text and data-mining methods in a collection of digitised eighteenth-century newspapers in the British Library’s Burney Collection to recover a complex, expansive, ephemeral poetic culture that has been lost to us for well over 250 years. This collection equates to around 1 million pages, around 700 or so bound volumes of 1271 titles of newspapers and news pamphlets published in London and also some English provincial, Irish and Scottish papers, and a few examples from the American colonies.


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Datamining for verse in Eighteenth-Century Newsapers

  1. 1. Datamining for verse in eighteenth-century newspapers Jennifer Batt, University of Bristol jennifer.batt@bristol.ac.uk
  2. 2. Poems in newspapers
  3. 3. Westminster Journal March 2 1745
  4. 4. Poems per issue, selected titles, 1745 • Universal Spectator – 1.2 (61 poems / 52 issues) • Westminster Journal – 0.7 (35 poem / 52 issues) • Dublin Journal – at least 0.6 (60 poems / 104 issues*) • London Evening Post – 0.3 (49 poems / 156 issues) • General Evening Post – at least 0.1 (19 poems / 156 issues*) • St James’ Evening Post – at least 0.1 (14 poems / 156 issues*) * denotes incomplete run of papers available
  5. 5. Ima ge fro m LEP
  6. 6. Ima ge fro m LEP
  7. 7. Ima ge fro m LEP
  8. 8. Ima ge fro m LEP Northampton Mercury
  9. 9. Ima ge fro m LEP Northampton Mercury To the Author of the Whitehall Evening-Post. SIR, I Read with a great deal of Pleasure the elegant Copy of Verses, On the Queen’s Grotto, writ by Stephen Duck, and inserted in your Paper on Tuesday the 12th Instant: Give me Leave, by your Means, to offer to the Consideration of the modest and ingenious Author, only two small Alterations. No. 10. THE sweetest Grotto, and the wisest Queen. As the Word sweet occurs within two Lines, viz. sweet Abodes, perhaps it wou’d be better to read fairest Grotto. No. 21 &c. But cease, my Muse, and cast thy wand’ring Eyes, Where Phœbus’lofty Domes Majestick rise; Whose tuneful Strains have sung the Grotto’s Praise; Contending each, till each deserves the Bays. ….. Hoping he will excuse this Freedom, I am, SIR, His, and your humble Servant, BENEVOLUS.
  10. 10. Ima ge fro m LEP Northampton Mercury Sir, say’d he, (giving me the paper) you shall see. Here is a short copy of verses in my name: true, I writ them, and doubtless, with some faults, but not so many as they have now. … ---Hearing him speak thus I begg’d him to give me a genuine copy, which he did very willingly. And having read it, I own his resentment seems in some measure reasonable: I therefore, Mr. BAVIUS, communicate his performance to you, (according to the author’s own desire,) which, if you will honour with a place in your paper, you will do justice to an honest man, and oblige your constant reader.
  11. 11. Ima ge fro m LEP Northampton Mercury
  12. 12. Ima ge fro m LEP Northampton Mercury
  13. 13. Ima ge fro m LEP Northampton Mercury
  14. 14. Ima ge fro m LEP Northampton Mercury
  15. 15. http://politicalmeetingsmapper.co.uk/maps/ Katrina Navickas http://victorianhumour.tumblr.com/ Bob Nicholson
  16. 16. What we did
  17. 17. pp. 1-2 p. 2 p. 3 p.4
  18. 18. ‘Arts and Entertainment’ ‘News’ ‘News’ ‘News’
  19. 19. • Ref to Hannah Rose Murray’s project http://frederickdouglassinbritain.com/ Hannah-Rose Murray
  20. 20. Elizabeth Lorang, Leen-Kiat Soh, Maanas Varma Dalta, Spencer Kulwicki, ‘Developing an Image-Based Classifier for Detecting Poetic Content in Historic Newspaper Collections’, D-Lib Magazine (July/August 2015) 21.7/8 DOI: 10.1045/july2015-lorang
  21. 21. Verse: 81% lines begin with capital Prose: 52% lines begin with capital Westminster Journal 3 March 1745
  22. 22. Verse: 83% lines begin with capital Prose: 35% lines begin with capital London Evening Post 3-5 September 1745
  23. 23. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2001499204/BBCN
  24. 24. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2001499222/BBCN
  25. 25. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2001499289/BBCN
  26. 26. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2001499279/BBCN
  27. 27. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2001499313/BBCN
  28. 28. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2001499314/BBCN
  29. 29. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2001499318/BBCN
  30. 30. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2000726187/BBCN
  31. 31. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2000726244/BBCN
  32. 32. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2000726259/BBCN
  33. 33. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2000413729/BBCN
  34. 34. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/Z2000413765/BBCN
  35. 35. So what was going on?
  36. 36. -'tor -P r W xd Thr v.: 4qd. in: Nap0e's ;n ~scwqpeuve-*ij,.~ T'rofi vt~ht Man pz~s1tp i s" i . -To Man with higher Powers int~Jg5 i's' MAai-Aa ImayA The following - -How apro'os . f: r" :4 1, 1. *Tho fWp-LtX~ . An Einmi fi r.(O). r£11zer dn 2v ! ; r i.-d ag : . , : .e I yot 4 fle , d' il a iidEPur,, LmaJpin, .Wealti andj Po~vrv', Inis uyfiz State afide,.. Ait a, gidfliew his own. deefi hierj paysq - -. dabt rts 1Ueu4ja s^ iii. re tfd,? w refifli'j allaiud: ~4., p may gurstO oui a t to~kuow . Wngvwas ' q ~rEXt~gltS 6In - audwuftf at d good,.b . ti b Universal Spectator 5 January, 1740
  37. 37. Up in. ;! - Accunm~is (Ai ;im late BA I PL E. - VUI_1 'i , T'- f:r ('-f1tMin wai j! ttigl4 lof[V Narl:! C U ml ;;: .* P,!rv.)(,[. : Jo;l t S ::,' t i* '- y, Nam' ,- Cllci.- i)r TiI 'c', . and 2 ia; ;,born, .uI TO . . '-.- :.u.: 'he :;f cy ,~ 5..mU-n; 7:' f~e Pars .nm . L W. r p .F ic "u 'mI I i6 f;. :. ni, . . ,., li:nlr, Ar i. i A'.Y: OU Ir ';:on mi~ ireJ V~te s . lc . t(, :;.;. gB.f~e -l yield..t~ *'''Jnk: pe1m8 i ma: f,kisd .:; Bii c:' for! tie Vlur .' -in *,p li a. i d ;k n JllY,R by1t whi in-: and t3 ; ;t 0 t. } uZ by* l' l w Gtsit ha hi Ponoo alta I) 'r -ner~ a; e uerIarrived at the irc; e s vice,: At ?. . a, t I . lt va- in! cjl!: Fitu'd. ' !w;: c.:lt ,- j B.x.',iJe F-. O .lc!~a :o yield. Dublin Journal 14-18 May, 1745
  38. 38. C As the Adfair in the North feerns every Day to gain more tW Credit, tCe following Lines of Mr. Psior may be worthy the to I Cofideration of all Parties among us. What thoj' among ourrelves, with too much Heat, or t W: fweutimes.wongle, wvhen we Ihould debate, W – (A confequential Ill which Freedom drawvs, fl t A bad Efficf, but from a noble Caufe) t We can with univeifal Zcal advance, to To cutb the faithlefs Arrogancccof V rance. hi Dublin Journal 10-14 September, 1745
  39. 39. C As the Adfair in the North feerns every Day to gain more tW Credit, tCe following Lines of Mr. Psior may be worthy the to I Cofideration of all Parties among us. What thoj' among ourrelves, with too much Heat, or t W: fweutimes.wongle, wvhen we Ihould debate, W – (A confequential Ill which Freedom drawvs, fl t A bad Efficf, but from a noble Caufe) t We can with univeifal Zcal advance, to To cutb the faithlefs Arrogancccof V rance. hi Dublin Journal 10-14 September, 1745
  40. 40. What thoj' among ourrelves, with too much Heat, or t W: fweutimes.wongle, wvhen we Ihould debate, W – (A confequential Ill which Freedom drawvs, fl t A bad Efficf, but from a noble Caufe) t We can with univeifal Zcal advance, to To cutb the faithlefs Arrogancccof V rance. hi Dublin Journal 10-14 September, 1745
  41. 41. Dublin Journal 10-14 September, 1745
  42. 42. Dublin Journal 10-14 September, 1745
  43. 43. What thoj' among ourrelves, with too much Heat, or t W: fweutimes.wongle, wvhen we Ihould debate, W – (A confequential Ill which Freedom drawvs, fl t A bad Efficf, but from a noble Caufe) t We can with univeifal Zcal advance, to To cutb the faithlefs Arrogancccof V rance. hi Dublin Journal 10-14 September, 1745
  44. 44. j o i1 H AN D E L. Ta ,vr atk mtijals, fd contra audentior ito. I RIELE you, Great-Mafter of the Lyre, -W Our Breads wi~th yarious Palion. lire; The Youth to M~artial Glory move, Now. melt to Pity rnow to Lore;s . While liftant Realms hy Pow'r confefs, Thy happy Coinpofitions blefs,. -An d Muhfc al Omnipvotence Ln addinge folemn Sounds to enfe; .How hard thy Fate! that here alone, -Where we caan call thy Notes our owns -Ingratitude lhou'd bce thy Lot,--- And all thy Harmony forgot ! Cou'd Miice, .or<Rerve,- take Plcb, - Thou'4A1 tfee1;ala1.- the eii Difgrawce – Thy Father. Orpb# -s felt inl Tbra*s.3Westminster Journal 25 January 1745
  45. 45. j o i1 H AN D E L. Ta ,vr atk mtijals, fd contra audentior ito. I RIELE you, Great-Mafter of the Lyre, -W Our Breads wi~th yarious Palion. lire; The Youth to M~artial Glory move, Now. melt to Pity rnow to Lore;s . While liftant Realms hy Pow'r confefs, Thy happy Coinpofitions blefs,. -An d Muhfc al Omnipvotence Ln addinge folemn Sounds to enfe; .How hard thy Fate! that here alone, -Where we caan call thy Notes our owns -Ingratitude lhou'd bce thy Lot,--- And all thy Harmony forgot ! Cou'd Miice, .or<Rerve,- take Plcb, - Thou'4A1 tfee1;ala1.- the eii Difgrawce – Thy Father. Orpb# -s felt inl Tbra*s.3Westminster Journal 25 January 1745
  46. 46. Conclusions
  47. 47. With particular thanks to… Mahendra Mahey and Ben O’Steen at British Library Labs and Harry Drake and Bobby Stuijfzand at the Jean Golding Institute for Data Intensive Research, University of Bristol

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