For my new column in Taki’s Magazine on how to answer questions about the trajectories of fame using Google’s Ngram, I read all your comments on preliminary posting and made up a dozen graphs inspired by your ideas.
The Dynamics of Repute
October 05, 2022
The rise and fall of fame—or at least of the number of times books mention the name of an artist or other historical figure—can be conveniently graphed using Google’s free Ngram Viewer.
Google has digitized the contents of 129 million books. Ngram lets you look up how relatively frequently a text string comes up out of all the words published in all the books in any year from 1800 to 2019.
To show you what you can do with Ngram to answer your own questions about trends in fame over the past 220 years, let’s start out by graphing the number of mentions in books of two really, really famous guys: Shakespeare and Napoleon:
Read the whole thing there.