Volume VII of  Hovedstrøminger I det 19de Aarhundredes Litteratur , as written by a hallucinating robot.

Volume VII of Hovedstrøminger I det 19de Aarhundredes Litteratur, as written by a hallucinating robot.

The Long-Lost Seventh Volume of Brandes’ Main Currents in 19th Century Literature

This newly-discovered (?) seventh volume of Hovedstrømninger i det 19de Aarhundredes Litteratur emerged from the fevered workings of an artificial neural network.

The book is the result of a recurrent neural network trained on the six extant volumes of Georg Brandes’ classic Danish text that helped establish the field of Comparative Literature. The neural network makes a comprehensive series of observations about real texts and uses what it learns to predict hypothetical future works. Unlike earlier approaches of text generation such as markov chains (Wikipedia), this character-level RNN works on a letter-by-letter basis.

As such it may be interesting to observe the network has learned the capitalization rules of nouns in 19th century Danish, despite starting from a purely random state in which no letter is more or less likely to follow another.

Try refreshing the page if you (do not) like what you read.

For English speakers, there is an excellent translation of Brandes’ original introduction to his 1872 lecture series available here.

Software:

textgenrnn by Mac Woolf: https://github.com/minimaxir/textgenrnn/

Further reading:

https://minimaxir.com/2018/05/text-neural-networks/

https://github.com/karpathy/char-rnn