One World Trade Center

New Yorker Eustace Tilly

One World Trade Center: One Hundred Years of Fiction at The New Yorker

Pairing close reading of individual stories with data analysis and dynamic mapping visualization of over 10,000 stories from 1925-2018, this project uses digital cartographic visualizations and data analysis to trace the development and migration of short fiction published in the magazine over the century to understand the relationships between these authors and the world of fiction created in The New Yorker.

This map shows the global distribution of The New Yorker's Fiction, 1925-present. Points are sized to represent the proportional volume of fiction from authors in each country. The lines between points show the relationship between the author's nationality and the setting of the story.
A cartographic representation of the global distribution of fiction at The New Yorker, 1925-present. Points are sized to represent the proportional volume of fiction from authors in each country. The lines between points show the relationship between the author’s nationality and the story setting.

Since its inception in 1925, the New Yorker has played a central role in establishing the short story in the American literary tradition. Yet, in its centrality as an American literary enterprise, the New Yorker has shared editors and pages with global Anglophone authors writing in the short story tradition from around the world. Alongside publishing iconic American authors, including E.B. White, James Thurber, Donald Barthelme, Grace Paley, Sherman Alexie, and Langston Hughes,  The New Yorker introduced American readers to authors from around the world, including Jamaica Kincaid, Vladimir Nabokov, Salman Rushdie, Jorge Luis Borges, and Nadine Gordimer.

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A timeline and map representing the distribution of fiction, 1925-present, published by authors from the Global South. The timeline shows the distribution sorted by the gender of the author (blue=female; grey=male)

In enlisting digital analysis and mass data, I aim to move beyond traditional analytic strategies by presenting this data using a dynamic digital mapping visualization platform. The database, which includes close to 10,000 entries of published fiction, is too vast to coherently yield information. The central inquiry of the project seeks to understand the exchanges that take place over space and time, an analytic frame best served by cartographic visualization.

See how it works here: Step-by-Step Workshop: Visualizing A Century of New Yorker Stories


Image Gallery
An image gallery displays the magazine’s cover art for each published piece, and links to the magazine issue in which the story was published.

By geocoding the spatial category of the data set (where the author was born, the setting of the story), alongside temporal data (the publication date of the story), the platform allows for a dynamic interface, displaying the density of stories published in a certain place. A timeline feature on the platform allows users to scroll through time, from 1925-present, while the map dynamically responds to movement across the timeline, visually showing changes in geographic distribution of the fiction across time. The platform allows users to visualize the geographical distribution of data across any category our dataset includes.

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Distribution of Fiction at The New Yorker, 1925-present, Sorted by Author’s Gender

This project examines the relationship between an American culture of short fiction developing over the course of the 20thcentury, and the development of world literature by global writers publishing in the magazine. How might we rethink the institutional and categorical boundaries between American short fiction and global Anglophone literature considering that frequently authors across these categories shared editors and a common economy of publishing and distribution? What, then, is “American” about the short fiction published in the New Yorker pages, and how does the idea of the American short story change when we consider these pieces from around the world as part of that canon?

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Distribution of fiction, sorted by author. The timeline shows the spread of author James Thurber’s stories over his time writing for The New Yorker.
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