I’ve been thinking all week about our discussion in class last Monday, regarding the usefulness of topic modeling software, and how the results can be pretty misleading depending on what your aiming is in using it. I’ve been thinking about turning this plot mapping software on essentially chaotic or even “plotless” novels (specifically the works of Thomas Pynchon)—what would that look like? Would it actually illuminate anything? What would turning any of these mapping or modeling tools on Pynchon, a writer who doesn’t esteem plot as an important element of his writing, do for our understanding of his work? Would topic modeling help make his abstract work more accessible? Would “word bag” approach help us understand more abstract literature that doesn’t rely on standard elements we’ve come to expect (such as a linear plot)?