Author Archives: lripoll

About lripoll

My name is Lovetann, and I am a master student studying English literature in Oslo. I have also studied Spanish at an undergraduate level. My work experience spans a variety of fields, from seasonal work such as selling wares and skills at festivals and on the street (flowers, hairbraiding, music and theater performances, jewelry, facepainting), to working as a museum guide, a teacher (schools, private tutoring, after school programs), a translator and a transcriber. Though I am based in Norway, my background is multicultural (Spanish, Norwegian, American), and multiculturalism drives much of my research and writing. Additionally, my academic interests center around Queer and Feminist theory.

19th Century American Indian Folk-Lore and Legends

North American Indian Folk-Lore and Legends, by Anonymous (1890)

Assignment 2: Find a corpus and analyze it using Voyant

by Løvetann Ripoll

I chose to look through a small corpus of Indigenous American literary texts in preparation for my thesis next year, focusing mainly on the gender representation in the selected text with a hypothesis that female characters were placed lower hierarchically in terms of representation.

At the Project Gutenberg website, the bookshelf “Native American” held the anonymously written collection, North American Folk-Tales and Legends, published in 1890 (Anonymous, “The Project Gutenberg EBook of Folk-Lore and Legends: North American Indian, by Anonymous.”)

Upon inputting the text (excluding the Project Gutenberg notes and “pg” for page) the most frequent words were: said, great, man, came and lodge (Sinclair and Rockwell). “Man” made the top five and prompted me to focus on the textual representation of gender in Folk-Tales. The results indicated to me that “men” and male gods, especially Manabozho, came up more often in the text than female characters. To verify this, I learned how to search for variants. “Man” was mentioned 146 times, “woman” 51, “men” 75, and “women” didn’t make it into the 40s. “Wife” was used 70 times, while the titles of “warrior” and “chief” came up 58 and 71 times respectively, titles presumably referring to men (for more on women chiefs and warriors, see “Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Tecumseh and Other Heroes of Native Resistance.”).


My research question became whether female figures were less prioritized in the text, and when present, were so most often as “wife,” a title that tying them to men. Conversely, then, the question included looking at whether the men in the text were represented more frequently in total, and whether they, when represented, were so in roles such as “chief” and “warrior” (this based on which words showed up in the 59 most frequently used words: see Sinclair and Rockwell.) Already at this point the research became problematic, as I will go further into below. For one, nouns such as “hunter” and “chief” may have referred to both men and women; for another, without doing close readings it was not viable to do named character searches, meaning that there might have been more named female characters than male, undermining the thesis of gender imbalanced representation.


It is important at this point that this hypothesis, that of women being less foregrounded than men in the text, was based on the reasonable assumption that the author, though anonymous, would most likely be a Anglo-male writing from a perspective. The stories he (if male) collected might be misinterpreting gender roles and hierarchy or even purposefully misrepresenting them to make the text more palatable for Anglo-patriarchal readers. Other issues of representation could be language barriers, and not in the least that North American Nations are not monocultural – as of October 2016, there were “566 federally recognized tribes” in the U.S. alone (see “List of Federal and State Recognized Tribes”). Generalizations about gender are challenging enough within a single nation, let alone when considering many hundreds (and from what I hear, some American Indians recognize over 600 tribes or nations).


All this to say: it is not an unlikely hypothesis that the filters of culture, language and gender, the end-product of Folk-Lore and Legends is likely to be guilty of misrepresentation Native American gender roles and more. The “prefatory note” of the collection praises the “Fantastic imagination, magnanimity, moral sentiment, tender feeling, and humour” of the “primitive” “Indians of North America,” (Anonymous). Here we have evidence of Anglo-stereotype of the “noble savage” (see Duane Champagne’s explanation of the derogatory nature of this in “Noble Savages and Noble Nations”). In conclusion, I do not expect the collection of folk-lore and legends that follows such a preface to be much more informed – that is, my kind of “informed,” which means intersectionally conscious of privilege and oppression between races, genders etc. – and although this initial experiment with Voyant cannot count as evidence, further research, I am confident, will support my hypothesis.





“About Open Library | Open Library.” Accessed March 11, 2018.


Anonymous. “The Project Gutenberg EBook of Folk-Lore and Legends: North American Indian, by Anonymous.,” Original book 1890. Accessed March 11 2018 at:


Champagne, Duane. “Noble Savages and Noble Nations.” Indian Country Media Network (news website), January 15, 2014. Accessed March 11 2018 at:


“Getting Started | Voyant Tools Documentation.” Accessed March 11, 2018.


“List of Federal and State Recognized Tribes.” Accessed April 1, 2018.


“Project Gutenberg.” Project Gutenberg. Accessed March 11, 2018. [Native American bookshelf accessed March 11, 2018 and located at:]


Sinclair, Stéfan and Rockwell, Geoffrey. “Summary.” Voyant Tools. 2018. Web. 1 April 2018. <>. Accessed April 1, 2018 at:,reader,documentterms,summary,contexts


“Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Tecumseh and Other Heroes of Native Resistance.” Indian Country Media Network (news website), July 28, 2016. Accessed March 11, 2018 at: [Female warriors]





Mapping Fear and Happiness in London: a review of “The Emotions of London”

Selected text: “The Emotions of London” a Stanford Literary Lab pamphlet by Ryan Heuser, Franco Moretti and Erik Steiner. Blog post by:   Løvetann Ripoll, MA student English Literature

The project described in the Stanford Literary Lab pamphlet “The Emotions of London” was inspired by an earlier, ultimately incomplete, study. In the original study, a group (including Ryan Heuser, one of the authors of this pamphlet) “decided to use topic modeling to extract geographical information from nineteenth-century novels” (p. 1). This idea was built upon for the project that the pamphlet presents, in which the researchers were asked to conduct a crowd-sourcing experiment. They chose to attempt what they call a “narrative geography” (p.9), in which they looked for topographical indications in English-language novels from 1700-1900. More specifically, they found ways of analyzing the data they collected to identify and categorize emotions in the novels (mainly fear and happiness), tying these emotions to specific locations in London. Said locations were selected based on which areas were named most frequently in the novels used for data collection, and those locations that did not occur often enough were weeded out: Heuser did the programming for the study by “identifying all proper names in the corpus via a Named Entity Recognition program, later removing from the list those terms which had nothing to do with London, like foreign toponyms, character’s names, and the like” (p. 2). The geographical locations included street names, buildings, bridges, parks, and more; some examples were the Tower of London, Whitehall, Drury Lane, Piccadilly, Hide Park, Grosvenor Square and Newgate.

The researchers present the data analysis through seven sets of figures, and for me, some of their methodology and even some of the figures themselves were challenging to understand. Granted, this pamphlet was one of my first encounters with digital humanities. Nonetheless, those figures that were more intuitive, combined with the engaging and accessible style of writing and finally, the findings of the project, made for a highly interesting read. One such finding was that there existed a discrepancy between “real” London and “fictional” London, where, despite the massive growth of the city in the course of the 200 years between 1700 and 1900, fictional London remained relatively stable: “…the only transformation occurred in the second half of the eighteenth century, when the West End became as narratively populated as the City” (p.4).  In this way, though “The number of geographical references kept increasing…they remained essentially localized in the City and in the West End: the rest of London – where most of the growth was actually taking place – never really mattered” (p.4). To put it simply; the areas that had captured the imaginations of readers and writers in the 1700s remained, to a high extent, the same. The number of books shot upwards, London grew massively, but apart from that, fictional London changed very little.

The pamphlet describes the ways in which the project developed, reflecting upon how they narrowed down their search criteria in response their readings of other works such as Philip Fisher’s Vehement Passions (p. 2) and how a “long discussion with Matthew Wilkens…prompted us to a final, critical re-examination of the very idea of “narrative geography”” (p. 9).  This kind of transparency is refreshing, because it allows for an understanding of how the project progressed, even implying that although some things, such as a “long discussion” with a colleague, can’t be planned for, they can still have a profound effect on a project. The motivation behind this strategy is made clear in the conclusion, where the mantra of “Corroboration, improvement, and discovery” is repeated twice (p.10). This could of come off as pedantic; instead, it reads as a great example of what academia can be. Self-conscious, accessible, with fascinating findings, and a healthy dose of self-critique.


  • The Emotions of London (Heuser et al., 2016) Accessed on January 29, 2018 at: