This Artist Turns Stories Into Constellations

by Emma Oulton

I will never cease to be amazed at how creative some book-lovers can be. Books have been turned into posters, stripped of everything but their punctuation, and even made into save-the-date bookmarks — and now, an artist has turned books into stars. Literary Constellations is an art project created by digital artist Nick Rougeux, which visualises the first sentences of classic books as constellations of stars. And oh my, it is beautiful.

Originally, Rougeux just set out to create diagrams of novels' first sentences, to compare the styles of different famous authors. He assigned a different symbol depending on the length of the word, and arranged each word along a line, the direction of which changed depending on the part of speech that followed. For example, a line that connects to an adjective points due north, whereas a line connecting to a noun points south-southwest. Once Rougeux had connected all the dots, he noticed something: "what I was creating resembled constellation maps."

And so, Literary Constellations was born. To create each stunning image, Rougeux plots the first sentence of every chapter within a short story. The result is like staring straight into the night sky. Rougeux writes on his site that "when a story is well-written, you can become so immersed while reading that it becomes your world." Transforming words into constellations is a beautiful visualisation of that truth.

Here's Rougeux's initial plotting of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:

From there, he developed these unique and beautiful images:

I don't know about you, but I could stargaze at these forever.