Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Sentiment Analysis and the Reception of the Liverpool Poets

This is the latest in our series of guest posts from the AADDA researchers who are proposing ways in which the archive can inform their research. This post is from Helen Taylor of Royal Holloway:

I am currently writing a doctoral thesis entitled ‘Adrian Henri and Merseybeat poetry: performance, poetry, and public in the Liverpool Scene of the 1960s’ (at Royal Holloway, with Professor Robert Hampson). My work uses much archival research and oral memory, particularly in relation to the live event and oral poetry in Liverpool at the time.

Sentiment analysis of the Domain Dark Archive would be useful in relation to my work on the Liverpool Poets and their reception by not only the mainstream media but also by those who experienced their work at the time (in the form of memoir, via fan pages, forums, and the like), and as such could provide me with another area of information to consider alongside newspapers, interviews, and archival material.

My main proposal for the AADDA is for a small, self-contained, project involving proximity search. I have found in my research that a variety of labels have been attached to the poets, and I think it would be most interesting to see how Adrian Henri, Roger McGough, and Brian Patten are referred to in forums and similar (informal) internet sites. Henri is often referred to in academic material as a poet/painter, but I want to find out how ordinary people, for want of a better word, labelled him – and I will then combine and compare this data with searches for the same terms from newspaper and published works, as there is a marked difference in academic and popular attitudes to the poets.

Subsequent to this, I would like to run geo-indexing analysis, to see where (as well as who and when) these results are coming from. I would expect results within Liverpool, but it would be interesting to see where else is recorded. It would be particularly interesting to see if the Liverpool 8 postcode (which is where the poets were living and working) would be an area of memorialisation.

This project could be important for my research because I am approaching the literary movement from a multi-, inter-, and cross- media perspective, to present Merseybeat poetry as ‘total art’. In the archives in Liverpool there are flyers for events with a variety of labels for the poets (many of which were written by the poets themselves for events and tours), but I want to be able to provide evidence for how the people experiencing the work have categorised the poets and I think that proximity search will help me prove my thesis.

Helen Taylor

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