Introduction to the Project

Dr. Laura Mandell began Text Mining the Novel: The Feminist Controversy in England in response to how gender has been dealt with by practitioners of stylometry and topic modeling. Dissatisfied with what appears to be gender essentialism in many cultural analytics projects, The Feminist Controversy looks at essays and novels by and about women's education from 1788 to 1810 in order to find emerging gender categories in the late eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. You can find out more about how we do this here.

UPDATE (Spring 2020) - Our complete dataset will be made available here in multiple forms: clean OCR'd plain text; hand tagged; and processed through NER.

You can also see more about Dr. Mandell's position on the problems with current cultural analytical attempts at cataloguing gender in "Gender and Cultural Analytics: Finding or Making Stereotypes?" which appeared in Debates in Digital Humanities 2019.

I love man as my fellow; but his scepter, real, or usurped, extends not to me, unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then the submission is to reason, and not to man.

Mary Wollstonecraft - The Vindication of the Rights of Woman

The pretty, soft creatures that are so often to be found in the female sex, and that class of men who believe they could not exist without such pretty, soft creatures to resort to, were in arms against the author of so heretical and blasphemous a doctrine.

William Godwin - Memoirs of the Author of The Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Text Mining the Novel: The Feminist Controversy in England is part of the SSRHC-funded Text Mining the Novel project, directed by Andrew Piper at McGill University.

We also owe credit to Gina Luria Walker's facsimile series, The Feminist Controversy in England, 1788-1810, published by Garland Publishing in 1974.