Simple Textual Analysis of Plague Tracts

I was thinking about my plagues and epidemics course and how to get students to think about the texts in new ways. I came across a post at Profhacker on using Wordle in the classroom, Wordle Revisited, that suggested creating word clouds for texts could stimulate discussion and analysis. Intrigued, I fed a couple 16th- and 17th-century plague tracts into Wordle to see what would happen. The results were interesting and, I think, promising.

The first text I put in was An Hospitall for the Diseased (1579), a general recipe book for all manner of ailment. It generated the following word cloud for the 25 most common words:

The word cloud from a 16th-century medical text.

Keep reading over at PACHS: “Plague Textual Analysis