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Further, such visualization does not really show us who speaks the most (I have attempted to give a sense of word volume by manipulating the size of the nodes, with larger ones indicating more lines), and it completely elides what is said.
Indeed, some critics have seen the frequent clashes in the framing narrative as evidence of an “anxiety” – an anxiety over the type of speech used to tell a tale and the type of tale told.Over the past decade, digital methods and so-called “distance reading” have been popularized as a form of literary analysis by scholars such as Franco Moretti, Matthew Jockers, Johanna Drucker, and others, who use technology to move beyond traditional “close reading” methods. There are advantages and disadvantages to technology-driven distance reading.In a certain light, network visualizations of the type popularized by Moretti work by shifting the analytical perspective, allowing one to view a text in terms of (flat) space rather than (sequential) time.The framing narratives undoubtedly provided a rich space in which Chaucer could more fully explore important themes, such as the temporal and narrative anxieties noted above.I will focus on those sections of the which, as highlighted by the network analysis I have performed, include the sharpest and most revealing interactions among pilgrims with respect to these anxieties, and how power is deployed in relation to them.Breaking the rules set forth by the Host can result in being silenced, even excluded from the community of pilgrims. In other words, while the pilgrims seem to enjoy a kind of equality as they intermingle on the road and share tales, rules of decorum, underwritten by power and position, constantly haunt the fellowship—threatening interruption, silencing, and ultimately banishment for those who break the rules.Focusing on Harry Bailly (the Host), I argue there are two kinds of anxiety that Chaucer explores through this character.Yet sometimes these exchanges are ambiguous and open to interpretation.Whether we care to look at the relatively brief , there is some interpretation necessary to discern who addresses whom.The second tool that I introduce to examine the Host’s twin anxieties, and the relationships on which they depend, is visualization software that traces social networks among Canterbury pilgrims.I used a version of the free network analysis software Gephi, which provides graphs of social networks, to help illustrate the relationships woven through the framing narrative in an abstract format (I used Gephi version .8 beta for this project; most of the visualizations produced can be found in the appendix to this chapter).