Saturday, May 7, 2022

Examples of Langston Hughes graphs

Langston Hughes's "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is one of the most widely anthologized African American poems, and to chart the work's circulation, I have developed an extensive bibliography of reprints of the poem in dozens of anthologies. Below, I provide a few examples of graphs based on data I collected about the appearances of the poem by decade. 

First, here's a look at the decades and number of anthologies that included the poem.

1920s: 3 anthologies
1930s: 3
1940s: 4
1950s: 2
1960s: 5 
1980s: 5
1990s: 18
2000s: 14
2010s: 5
2020s: 1

"The Negro Speaks of Rivers" was reprinted in 18 anthologies during the 1990s -- more than any other decade in my dataset.  The poem appeared in 14 anthologies during the 2000s -- the second highest total. During the 1980s, Hughes's poem appeared in only 5 anthologies. 

Now, here's a look at the information with a scatterplot graph:

Here's a look at the scatterplot with lines, which accents the rises and dips. 

And one more: a bar chart:

It's one thing to state that there were some spikes in decades of apperances, but presenting that statement along with graphs offer possibilities for visualizing bibliographic data. 

I plan to extend this kind of work -- using data and visualizations -- to highlight aspects of African American publishing history.    

No comments: