Author First name, Last name, Institution

Ileana Baird, Zayed University

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

Data Visualization in Enlightenment Literature and Culture

Publication Date



This chapter uses social network analysis to visualize the fields of relations involving John Dennis, the most important critic of the first half of the eighteenth century, with the other protagonists in Alexander Pope’s satire, The Dunciad in Four Books (1743). By using visualizations generated by GraphViz, a program that creates topological graphs from sets of dyadic relations, and ShivaGraph, a tool that helps visualize large networks and navigate through them as through a map, this chapter brings to light data that is structurally embedded in the poem but not immediately legible given the large amount and complexity of information. In Dennis’s case, they reveal the competing stories told by the poem and the apparatus and the critic’s main role as the uncrowned king of The Dunciad’s textual periphery. These visualizations also highlight Dennis’s essential position as a network connector, his camp affiliations, the role played by peripheral characters in the plot network of the poem, and the main dunces targeted by Pope, or the poem’s “hall of infamy.”

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Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Open Access


Open Access Type

Hybrid: This publication is openly available in a subscription-based journal/series