IPHS 300: Artificial Intelligence for the Humanities: Text, Image, and Sound

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2019


In his novel, Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov uses a non-linear narrative composed in three parts: Foreword, Poem, and Commentary, apparently written by two distinct authors, John Shade and Charles Kinbote. Storylines appear to be separate at surface level yet work in interconnected ways at a deeper level. The novel deals with life after death, the story arc of a disguised, exiled king, and provides meta commentary on the art of commentary. The text was tricky to analyze without sentiment analysis principally because of its seemingly disjointed structure. Thus, there’s a bit of irony in that we found a repeated structure to the text despite the preconceived notions that the text is “plotless” overall. Both the simplified macro structure to the Poem and to the Foreword and Commentary show the “Man in a Hole” narrative model, which illustrates a mirroring or doubling in structure as well. This is strengthened by the larger structures of Foreword and Commentary and Poem being mirrors of one another as well; when compared, the two are reflections of one another in terms of structure. This was not apparent prior to sentiment analysis and is important, as it mirrors the reflective nature of the text.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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