Franco Moretti's 2013 book, Distant Reading, has been named a finalist for the National Book Critics Award for criticism.
A pioneering literary critic, Moretti charts new territory with his most recent book, a collection of essays that takes aim at the hegemonic method of "close reading."
The United States is the country of close reading, so I don't expect this idea to be particularly popular. But the trouble with close reading (in all of its incarnations, from the new criticism to deconstruction) is that it necessarily depends on an extremely small cannon... At bottom, it's a theological exercise-- very solemn treatment of very few texts taken very seriously-- whereas what we really need is a little pact with the devil: we know how to read texts, now let's learn how not to read them.
With Distant Reading, Moretti breaths new life into understanding what, and how, we read.
The National Book Critics Awards celebrate the year's best writing in six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The awards will be presented March 13 at the New School.
You can see the full list of finalists at the National Books Critics Circle.