Towards a Methodology for the Analysis of Character Systems/Networks in the Spanish Novel: The case of Pérez Galdós’ Zumalacárregui and Mendizábal.


In this talk I present a methodology that combines approaches from literary analysis, sociology, and computer science in order to show how the results of distant reading replicate well established readings of Benito Pérez Galdós’ Zumalacárregui and Mendizábal (1898). I will briefly explain the concept of character system, the stages of data-mining the characters, and social network analysis measurements. Data shows that the main difference between the two novels’ character networks is an opposite protagonicity of historical and fictional personae. In addition, the visualizations of these “synchronic system[s] of social relations” (Jameson) also explain the spontaneous perception of Zumalacárregui as having a bigger degree of historicity. Indeed, whereas Zumalacárregui’s graph recognizes the historical division between carlistas and isabelinos, Mendizábal’s, interestingly enough, produces a clear distinction between historical and fictional characters.