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Annotated dataset of 100 works of fiction to support tasks in natural language processing and the computational humanities.

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LitBank is an annotated dataset of 100 works of English-language fiction to support tasks in natural language processing and the computational humanities, described in more detail in the following publications:

LitBank currently contains annotations for entities, events, entity coreference, and quotation attribution in a sample of ~2,000 words from each of those texts, totaling 210,532 tokens.

Creative Commons License
LitBank is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Entity annotations

The entity annotation layer of LitBank covers six of the ACE 2005 categories in text:

  • People (PER): Tom Sawyer, her daughter
  • Facilities (FAC): the house, the kitchen
  • Geo-political entities (GPE): London, the village
  • Locations (LOC): the forest, the river
  • Vehicles (VEH): the ship, the car
  • Organizations (ORG): the army, the Church

The targets of annotation here include both named entities (e.g., Tom Sawyer) and common entities (the boy). These entities can be nested, as in the following:


For more, see: David Bamman, Sejal Popat and Sheng Shen, "An Annotated Dataset of Literary Entities," NAACL 2019.

Event annotations

The event layer in LitBank identifies events with asserted realis (depicted as actually taking place, with specific participants at a specific time) -- as opposed to events with other epistemic modalities (hypotheticals, future events, extradiegetic summaries by the narrator).

Text Events Source
My father’s eyes had closed upon the light of this world six months, when mine opened on it. {closed, opened} Dickens, David Copperfield
Call me Ishmael. {} Melville, Moby Dick
His sister was a tall, strong girl, and she walked rapidly and resolutely, as if she knew exactly where she was going and what she was going to do next. {walked} Cather, O Pioneers

For more, see: Matt Sims, Jong Ho Park and David Bamman, "Literary Event Detection," ACL 2019.

Coreference annotations

The coreference layer in LitBank covers the six ACE entity categories outlined above (people, facilities, locations, geo-political entities, organizations and vehicles); while the entity tagging above only covers proper noun phrases (Tom Sawyer) and common noun phrases (the boy), the coref annotations also cover personal pronouns (he) as well.

We annotate three different categories of coreference phenomena -- coreference of identity (which links a mention in text to a discourse entity); copula (which links an attribute mention to another mention); and apposition (which links an appositive expression to another mention).

Phenomenon Example Source
Coreference One may as well begin with [Helen]x's letters to [[her]x sister]y Forster, Howard's End
Copula drawing Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener
Apposition drawing Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Annotations largely follow OntoNotes guidelines (though singleton mentions are annotated here), with several departures for literary style (including the distinction between generic/specific mentions, near-identity and the revelation of identity). For more on the coreference criteria used in these annotations, see David Bamman, Olivia Lewke and Anya Mansoor (2020), "An Annotated Dataset of Coreference in English Literature", LREC.

Quotation annotations

The quotation layer in LitBank identifies all instances of direct speech in the text, attributed to its speaker.

Quote Speaker Source
— Come up , Kinch ! Come up , you fearful jesuit ! Buck_Mulligan-0 Joyce, Ulysses
‘ Oh dear ! Oh dear ! I shall be late ! ’ The_White_Rabbit-4 Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
“ Do n't put your feet up there , Huckleberry ; ” Miss_Watson-26 Twain, Huckleberry Finn

This layer captures dialogue in quotation marks and other typographical markers (such as dashes in Joyce's Ulysses), and excludes strings wrapped in quotation marks that do not constitute dialogue, such as the use of scare quotes for emphatic use (for jargon, neologisms or irony), titles of works of art, and the mention of a term (as distinct from its use).

Speaker labels are identical to those in the coref/ section of LitBank, to enable linking the quotation and coreference layers.

For more on the quotation annotations, see this paper.


A trained tagger (which can be used to tag entities and events in new text) can be found in the tagger/ directory. (A model for coreference resolution is coming shortly.)


The corpus is drawn from the public domain texts on Project Gutenberg, and includes individual works of fiction (both novels and short stories) that include a mix of high literary style (e.g., Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence, James Joyce's Ulysses) and popular pulp fiction (e.g., H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines, Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick). We select approximately 2,000 words from each of 100 texts; the total annotated dataset contains 210,532 tokens.

Gutenberg ID Date Author Title
514 1868 Alcott, Louisa May Little Women
18581 1904 Alger, Horatio, Jr. Adrift in New York: Tom and Florence Braving the World
5348 1868 Alger, Horatio, Jr. Ragged Dick, Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot-Blacks
158 1815 Austen, Jane Emma
105 1818 Austen, Jane Persuasion
1342 1813 Austen, Jane Pride and Prejudice
1206 1914 Bower, B. M. The Flying U Ranch
969 1848 Brontë, Anne The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
1260 1847 Brontë, Charlotte Jane Eyre: An Autobiography
768 1847 Brontë, Emily Wuthering Heights
2095 1853 Brown, William Wells Clotelle: A Tale of the Southern States
113 1911 Burnett, Frances Hodgson The Secret Garden
6053 1778 Burney, Fanny Evelina, Or, the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World
62 1912 Burroughs, Edgar Rice A Princess of Mars
78 1912 Burroughs, Edgar Rice Tarzan of the Apes
2084 1903 Butler, Samuel The Way of All Flesh
11 1865 Carroll, Lewis Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
24 1913 Cather, Willa O Pioneers!
44 1915 Cather, Willa The Song of the Lark
472 1900 Chesnutt, Charles W. (Charles Waddell) The House Behind the Cedars
1695 1908 Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith) The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare
160 1899 Chopin, Kate The Awakening, and Selected Short Stories
1155 1922 Christie, Agatha The Secret Adversary
155 1868 Collins, Wilkie The Moonstone
219 1899 Conrad, Joseph Heart of Darkness
974 1907 Conrad, Joseph The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale
940 1826 Cooper, James Fenimore The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757
73 1895 Crane, Stephen The Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of the American Civil War
876 1861 Davis, Rebecca Harding Life in the Iron-Mills; Or, The Korl Woman
521 1719 Defoe, Daniel The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
1023 1852 Dickens, Charles Bleak House
766 1849 Dickens, Charles David Copperfield
1400 1861 Dickens, Charles Great Expectations
730 1838 Dickens, Charles Oliver Twist
1661 1892 Doyle, Arthur Conan The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
2852 1902 Doyle, Arthur Conan The Hound of the Baskervilles
233 1900 Dreiser, Theodore Sister Carrie: A Novel
15265 1911 Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) The Quest of the Silver Fleece: A Novel
145 1871 Eliot, George Middlemarch
550 1861 Eliot, George Silas Marner
12677 1914 Ferber, Edna Personality Plus: Some Experiences of Emma McChesney and Her Son, Jock
6593 1749 Fielding, Henry History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
9830 1922 Fitzgerald, F. Scott (Francis Scott) The Beautiful and Damned
805 1920 Fitzgerald, F. Scott (Francis Scott) This Side of Paradise
2775 1915 Ford, Ford Madox The Good Soldier
2641 1908 Forster, E. M. (Edward Morgan) A Room with a View
2891 1910 Forster, E. M. (Edward Morgan) Howards End
4276 1855 Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn North and South
32 1915 Gilman, Charlotte Perkins Herland
502 1913 Grey, Zane Desert Gold
3457 1919 Grey, Zane The Man of the Forest
711 1887 Haggard, H. Rider (Henry Rider) Allan Quatermain
2166 1885 Haggard, H. Rider (Henry Rider) King Solomon's Mines
27 1874 Hardy, Thomas Far from the Madding Crowd
110 1891 Hardy, Thomas Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman
77 1851 Hawthorne, Nathaniel The House of the Seven Gables
33 1850 Hawthorne, Nathaniel The Scarlet Letter
95 1894 Hope, Anthony The Prisoner of Zenda
41 1820 Irving, Washington The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
208 1879 James, Henry Daisy Miller: A Study
432 1903 James, Henry The Ambassadors
209 1898 James, Henry The Turn of the Screw
367 1896 Jewett, Sarah Orne The Country of the Pointed Firs
2807 1899 Johnston, Mary To Have and to Hold
4217 1916 Joyce, James A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
2814 1914 Joyce, James Dubliners
4300 1922 Joyce, James Ulysses
217 1913 Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert) Sons and Lovers
543 1920 Lewis, Sinclair Main Street
215 1903 London, Jack The Call of the Wild
351 1915 Maugham, W. Somerset (William Somerset) Of Human Bondage
11231 1853 Melville, Herman Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street
2489 1851 Melville, Herman Moby Dick; Or, The Whale
45 1908 Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud) Anne of Green Gables
41286 1866 Oliphant, Mrs. (Margaret) Miss Marjoribanks
60 1905 Orczy, Emmuska Orczy, Baroness The Scarlet Pimpernel
932 1839 Poe, Edgar Allan The Fall of the House of Usher
1064 1842 Poe, Edgar Allan The Masque of the Red Death
4051 1915 Praed, Campbell, Mrs. Lady Bridget in the Never-Never Land: a story of Australian life
3268 1794 Radcliffe, Ann Ward The Mysteries of Udolpho
434 1908 Rinehart, Mary Roberts The Circular Staircase
171 1791 Rowson, Mrs. Charlotte Temple
271 1877 Sewell, Anna Black Beauty
84 1823 Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus
120 1883 Stevenson, Robert Louis Treasure Island
345 1897 Stoker, Bram Dracula
829 1726 Swift, Jonathan Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World
8867 1918 Tarkington, Booth The Magnificent Ambersons
599 1848 Thackeray, William Makepeace Vanity Fair
76 1884 Twain, Mark Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
74 1876 Twain, Mark The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
1327 1898 Von Arnim, Elizabeth Elizabeth and Her German Garden
238 1915 Webster, Jean Dear Enemy
5230 1897 Wells, H. G. (Herbert George) The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance
36 1897 Wells, H. G. (Herbert George) The War of the Worlds
541 1920 Wharton, Edith The Age of Innocence
174 1890 Wilde, Oscar The Picture of Dorian Gray
2005 1919 Wodehouse, P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Piccadilly Jim
16357 1788 Wollstonecraft, Mary Mary: A Fiction
1245 1919 Woolf, Virginia Night and Day


The entity data is formatted in the original brat standoff annotation format and in the tab-separated layered format of


We welcome contributions to LitBank in the form of annotations for new texts in the public domain and suggestions for new texts to include; please contact to get involved. For more information:

  • See to explore the current entity annotations in LitBank through the brat annotation interface.
  • Try annotating entities in O Pioneers! yourself (login by hovering over the "brat" icon in the upper right corner, using username "test" and password "annotate").


This work was supported by an Amazon Research Award ("Natural Language Processing for Literary Texts").


Annotated dataset of 100 works of fiction to support tasks in natural language processing and the computational humanities.






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