, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 339-361

A concept analysis of Jonathan Swift'sA tale of a Tub andGulliver's Travels

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Abstract

Part 1. The core of the concept analysis method is a dictionary of 43,000 words to each of which is assigned up to 5 of 168 concepts. Computer programs read each word of a text and produce a concept frequency profile of the text.Part 2. Comparisons of concept profiles ofTub andGulliver and Swift's own contemporary texts, as well as a composite text of 18th century writers, reveal thatGulliver is conceptually different fromTub and its coevals. The fourth book ofGulliver (Houyhnhnms) is significantly different from the first three books. The last two books ofGulliver (Laputa and Houyhnhnms) are more likeTub than are the first two books (Lilliput and Brobdingnag).Part 3. The concepts and words supporting these distinctions suggest two strands in Swift's thinking: the first, pessimism about the human condition; the second, interest in the quotidian world. Finally, such issues as disambiguation of homonyms, scoring of phrases, and the role of syntax are considered.

Julius Laffal is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry (in Psychology) at Yale University. He was Director of Research and Psychological Services at Connecticut Valley Hospital from 1969 to 1985. He has been Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Wesleyan University, and Professor in Residence, Psychology, at University of Connecticut. He is the author ofNormal and Pathological Language (1965) andA Concept Dictionary of English with Computer Programs for Content Analysis (1990).