Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Link analysis, terrorism, and ‘Hamlet’

Since 9/11, lots of hard work has been done on “link analysis” — looking at who communicates with whom, who sends money to whom, and so on, as a way of detecting and delineating terrorist networks, nodes and points of vulnerability. David Ignatius makes this fact a key to his new novel, Bloodmoney.   Now ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Since 9/11, lots of hard work has been done on "link analysis" -- looking at who communicates with whom, who sends money to whom, and so on, as a way of detecting and delineating terrorist networks, nodes and points of vulnerability. David Ignatius makes this fact a key to his new novel, Bloodmoney.  

Now a Stanford professor of English is doing link analysis in literature. To my surprise, he is coming up with some interesting stuff on Hamlet:

" ... of all the characters who speak to both Hamlet and Claudius, only two manage to survive the play (Moretti calls this part of the network the "region of death"). Or one notices that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the most famous pair of minor characters in all of Shakespeare, never speak to each other."

Since 9/11, lots of hard work has been done on “link analysis” — looking at who communicates with whom, who sends money to whom, and so on, as a way of detecting and delineating terrorist networks, nodes and points of vulnerability. David Ignatius makes this fact a key to his new novel, Bloodmoney.  

Now a Stanford professor of English is doing link analysis in literature. To my surprise, he is coming up with some interesting stuff on Hamlet:

” … of all the characters who speak to both Hamlet and Claudius, only two manage to survive the play (Moretti calls this part of the network the “region of death”). Or one notices that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the most famous pair of minor characters in all of Shakespeare, never speak to each other.”

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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