Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Franco Moretti

My little dream is of a literary class that would look more like a lab than a Platonic academy.

Franco Moretti

Harold Bloom, the Yale English professor famous for his prodigious command of canonical literature, was more dismissive. Interrupting a description of the theory, he pronounced Mr. Moretti “an absurdity.”

"I am interested in reading,” he said with an audible shudder. “That's all I'm interested in".

Tufte vs. Bloom 1 By Paul Ford

Franco Moretti from Wood's Lot 9 Jan 2006.

Elif Batuman's long n+1 essay, Adventures of a Man of Science, Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History, is not really the place to start. Other mentions suggest a logical set of links which avoid having to write little myself.

To make it easier:

Literature to Infinity Inside Higher ED > some comments at the bottom

The ideas interview: Franco Moretti John Sutherland, Guardian 9 Jan 2006

Back a bit:

Atlas of the European Novel 1800- 1900 (1998) the Bactra Review, 21 October 1998

By MorettI:

Franco Moretti: Conjectures on world literature
New Left Review Jan - Feb 2000

Franco Moretti : More Conjectures
New Left Review March - April 2003

Graphs, Maps and trees Abstract Models for Literary History—1
New Left Review Nov -Dec 2003 (includes a a set of the graphs)

A review by Marjorie Perloff of Morettis' Modern Epic: The World-System from Goethe to Garcia Marquez

A response by Moretti in riPOSTe, with its reply by Perloff

Timothy Burke in a group blog, Cliopatria, at History News Network in a post on 20 January, 2004, runs through a critique. So does Pseudopdium.


It would not be surprising if, after reading all this, your mind did not wandered to images of the weighing of human souls, or at least thoughts that someone might start doing the same sort of thing as Moretti by making tallys of the frequency of words in books. With the digitisation of so many this would not be difficult. Presumably it would be possible to achieve this by running texts through indexing software, or some such.

I have no idea why reading about Moretti linked to mention (M002 ) of the parlour game "humiliation" played by academics in David Lodge's Changing Places. But this is part of it if we take Bloom's position. However, rooting about for mentions of "humiliation", led to one gem and all without reading no more than a few words of actual books!

Dostoevesky got there first in The Idiot. Mind, without the e-book it would have taken much longer to find it. From this page in, you can type in 'game', to get to chapter 13. The game follows through in 14.

The version of The Idiot is easier on the eye than the version, though if you were going to start searching for words and drawing graphs, the latter lets you run through from beginning to end.

Came across this: Thoughts on the Idiot of Dostoevsky by Hermann Hesse.

A S Byatt's review of the new translation of Gogol's Dead Souls popped up on the "David Lodge" searches: you can see why from her first sentance. I am pleased to have come across this as I haven't read it (though you can't really play "humiliation" over the air-waves because people need to see the whites of your eyes to see if you are lying or not!)


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