- Digital Scholarship Group - https://dsg.neu.edu -

Viral Texts


About this Project

Project Title: Viral Texts – Mapping Networks of Reprinting in 19th-century Newspapers and Magazines

Description: The Viral Texts Project is still in the early stages of development. Its site will soon include data, visualizations, and interpretive prose drawn from the Viral Texts project, which seeks to develop theoretical models that will help scholars better understand what qualities—both textual and thematic—helped particular news stories, short fiction, and poetry “go viral” in nineteenth-century newspapers and magazines. During this period, texts published in newspapers and magazines were not typically protected as intellectual property, and so literary texts as well as other non-fiction prose texts circulated promiscuously among newspapers as editors freely reprinted materials borrowed from other venues. The Viral Texts Project is asking: What texts were reprinted and why? How did ideas—literary, political, scientific, economic, religious—circulate in the public sphere and achieve critical force among audiences? By employing and developing computational linguistics tools to analyze the large textual databases of nineteenth-century newspapers newly available to scholars, this project will generate new knowledge of the nineteenth-century print public sphere.

Viral Texts is sponsored by Northeastern University’s NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks and generously funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities.

Website: http://www.viraltexts.org/ [1]


Contribution to the DSG

More coming soon.


Contact Information

Primary contact: Ryan Cordell (r.cordell@neu.edu)



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