Text networks, part one: Primer

This post is part of a series of posts about text network analysis. Each post will discuss one approach to algorithmically creating networks from texts.
Historical network analysis—or, more generally, network analysis in the digital humanities—is in most cases an application of Social Network Analysis in the fields of history or literary studies. It shares with sociological approaches its focus on social actors, or: people. In contrast to sociology, DH applications mostly focus on dead (history) or fictional (literary studies) people.