Distant Spectators

Distant Reading for Periodicals of the Enlightenment

In their 5th issue, Applied Network Science published our article Text sentiment in the Age of Enlightenment: an analysis of spectator periodicals (Koncar et al. 2020). The paper resulted from our analysis of the characteristics of the sentiment in the spectator periodicals, like different factors influencing sentiment (time, topics, narrative forms), reltions between periodicals, places and people, as well as the usage of sentiment conveying words. It is not only the first work on sentiment in spectator periodicals in such a broad scope, and therefore an important contribution to the comprehension of the Age of Enlightenment and the literature of the 18th century in general, but also a foundation for further studies of publications from this period, due to the public availability of the data and code (Koncar 2020).

As an example, the line charts below represent the mean sentiment of text passages over the years for each analyzed language. We notice that, contrary to our expectations, sentiment is stable over time and not, for example, reflecting historic events. Further, the sentiment for French and Italian periodicals is mostly positive, whereas German, Portuguese and Spanish periodicals have mostly negative sentiment throughout time. For more detailed insights, follow the reference to the original article.

Mean Sentiment Over Years
Mean Sentiment Over Years


Koncar, P. (2020): “Text Sentiment in the Age of Enlightenment: An Analysis of Spectator Periodicals”. URL: https://github.com/philkon/sentiment-spectator-extended [Accessed: 26.06.2020].

Koncar, P./Fuchs, A./Hobisch, E./Geiger B. C./Scholger M./Helić D. (2020): “Text sentiment in the Age of Enlightenment: an analysis of spectator periodicals”. In: Appl Netw Sci 5, article number 33. URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41109-020-00269-z [Accessed: 26.06.2020].