Novel Views: Les Miserables

By: Jeff Clark    Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2013

The project 'Novel Views' consists of a series of visualizations of the novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. The text analyzed is the English translation by Isabel F. Hapgood available at Project Gutenberg.

Character Mentions

This graphic shows where the names of the primary characters are mentioned within the text. Click on any of these images to see larger versions.

Characters are listed from top to bottom in their order of appearance. The horizontal space is segmented into the 5 volumes of the novel. Each volume is subdivided further with a faint line indicating the various books and, finally, small rectangles indicate the chapters within the books. In the 5 volumes there are a total of 48 books and 365 chapters. The height of the small rectangles indicate how frequently that character is mentioned in that particular chapter.

Radial Word Connections

A word used in multiple places in a text can be interpreted as a connection between those locations. Depending on the word itself the connection could be in terms of character, setting, activity, mood, or other aspects of the text. This graphic shows a number of these word connections.

The 365 chapters of the text are shown with small segments on the inner ring of the circle with the first chapter appearing at the top and proceeding clockwise from there. The outer ring shows how the chapters are grouped into books of the novel and the book titles are shown as well. The words in the middle are connected using lines of the same color to the chapters where they are used. The edge bundling technique together with the Volume - Book - Chapter hierarchy of the text are used so the patterns of connections are more easily revealed.

Segment Word Clouds

A series of small word clouds for each book within the novel are shown.

The size of the words reflect frequency within that section but the size is also boosted for words that are relatively more prominent in that section than they are in the novel as a whole.

For the earliest segment in which a word appears it is colored blue. The color for that same word gradually changes to black in later segments. This makes it easier to spot words that are newly prominent in the text.

Characteristic Verbs

The verbs used together with character names in a novel can provide a glimpse into the personalities and actions of that character. For the primary people in the novel Les Miserables this graphic illustrates their characteristic verbs.

They are listed under the character in an order that reflects both frequency of use with that character name as well as the distribution of usage across the various characters in the novel. This distribution across characters is shown with a small stacked bar graph to the right of each verb.


Delaunay Images II
Grimm's Fairy Tale Network