How Were Women Represented In English Literature In 19th Century?

Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 3:24pm
Updated: Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 9:10am
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(Photo courtesy of Ted Underwood)
Ted Underwood

You might assume that, as women’s rights have expanded in the last century, so have their roles in literature.

But new research published in the Journal of Cultural Analytics shows women were better represented in the late-19th century than in the 20th century in English literature.

Researchers at the University of Illinois combed through 100,000 books using a machine learning algorithm programmed to look at the number of men and women both in literature — and at those writing it.  

To explain this, I got a hold of Ted Underwood, a co-author of the study and a professor of English and Information Sciences at the University of Illinois. And we started by talking about the question they were asking — and the surprising answer they ultimately found.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story and headline have been modified to correct the time frame.

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