Visualize the Natural World of Novels By Using the Technology

On February 24, Alicia Pecker introduced new ways of analyzing literary classics, sharing her latest research during the college’s Carol Rifelj Faculty Lecture Series. The title of their conversation was “Digital Reading and Ferny, Mossy Discoveries’: The Natural World Visualization of Thomas Hardy’s Tess the d’Urbervilles and Mary Webb’s to Gone to Earth.”


We all know that today the field of digital world has become quite wide, which includes more than one invention.

Professor James Ralph, who is the dean of faculty development and research, introduced Pecker, saying that the energetic scholar is “a wonderful ambassador for digital liberal arts” who works closely with Middlebury faculty “to match, not force, digital approaches and teaching methods for their own scholarly work.”

Along with technology, Pecker in his research explored the relationship between the central characters and their natural environments in his novels which written by the two British writers who were influenced by the romantic period in art and literature.

Every words contained in both books, by using the CATMA (computer-aided textual markup and analysis). The Faculty Lecture Alicia Pecker has produced visualizations through Tableau software, Tagul word cloud generator, and by other computer programs.

This research helped her to represent her novel “ecosystems and biosophers”, and enabled her to develop digital models in terms of the character of the individual within the fictional world of the people in which they live.

By using the technology to visualize the natural world of literature, Pecker hopes to “offer a new mode of environmental experience, allowing readers and viewers to not only engage with personal novels, but to think about the environment itself and also be ready to take important steps for it”.

This research done by him can influence the ways in which environmental literature is read and understood.

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