How does a literary historian end up thinking in terms of z-scores, principal component analysis, and clustering coefficient?
In the ten essays collected in this volume, Franco Moretti reconstructs the intellectual trajectory of his philosophy of ‘distant reading’. From the evolutionary model of ‘Modern European Literature’, through the geo-cultural dominant of ‘Conjectures on World Literature’ and ‘Planet Hollywood’ to the quantitative findings of ‘Style, inc.’ and the abstract patterns of ‘Network Theory, Plot Analysis’, the book follows two decades of critical explorations that have come to define – well beyond the wildest expectations of its author – a growing field of unorthodox literary studies.
“One of the most daring and intellectually exciting books of the year.”
“A great iconoclast of literary criticism.”
“It’s a rare literary critic who attracts so much public attention, and there’s a good reason: few are as hell-bent on rethinking the way we talk about literature.”
“Moretti, a mythopoeic figure, generates around himself a dense network of folklore and apocrypha.”
“Moretti is already famous in bookish circles for his data-centric approach to novels, which he graphs, maps, and charts ... if his new methods catch on, they could change the way we look at literary history.”
“Distant reading might prove to be a powerful tool for studying literature.”
“Moretti's new collection of essays, Distant Reading, provides a retrospective of his remarkable trajectory.”