Deconstructing Gustav Mahler's Letters Through Topic Modeling

Kang, Brian [Browse]
Senior thesis


Willan, Claude [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering [Browse]
Princeton University. Program in Applications of Computing [Browse]
Class year
Summary note
Gustav Mahler’s symphonies mark a critical shift from the Romantic era to the Con- temporary era. Mahler’s symphonies capture complex sentiments that often assume the dramatism of the Romantic era, as well as a more progressive, avant-garde aspects of the contemporary era. However, it is not just Mahler’s music that embraces this very complexity: Mahler himself has lived quite an eventful life which stems from, as well as leads to, his profound character. This thesis aims to gain a closer look into Mahler’s colorful character by analyzing his letters to his wife. Having been a prolific writer, Mahler has written 350 letters to Alma throughout the years of their relationship, which leaves abundant resources to study. This research will analyze the letters in order to gain a deeper understanding into Mahler’s sentiments and his complex psychology to deconstruct Mahler using quantitative methods rather than the traditional qualitative means.

Supplementary Information