Paper: Multiple Narrative Disentanglement: Unraveling Infinite Jest

ACL ID N12-1001
Title Multiple Narrative Disentanglement: Unraveling Infinite Jest
Venue Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics
Session Main Conference
Year 2012

Many works (of both fiction and non-fiction) span multiple, intersecting narratives, each of which constitutes a story in its own right. In this work I introduce the task of multiple nar- rative disentanglement (MND), in which the aim is to tease these narratives apart by assign- ing passages from a text to the sub-narratives to which they belong. The motivating exam- ple I use is David Foster Wallace?s fictional text Infinite Jest. I selected this book because it contains multiple, interweaving narratives within its sprawling 1,000-plus pages. I pro- pose and evaluate a novel unsupervised ap- proach to MND that is motivated by the theory of narratology. This method achieves strong empirical results, successfully disentangling the threads in Infinite Jest and significantly outperforming ba...