Distant Reading

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Verso Books, Jun 4, 2013 - Literary Criticism - 224 pages
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WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD 

How does a literary historian end up thinking in terms of z-scores, principal component analysis, and clustering coefficients? The essays in Distant Reading led to a new and often contested paradigm of literary analysis. In presenting them here Franco Moretti reconstructs his intellectual trajectory, the theoretical influences over his work, and explores the polemics that have often developed around his positions.

From the evolutionary model of “Modern European Literature,” through the geo-cultural insights of “Conjectures of 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 conceptual development, organizing them around the metaphor of “distant reading,” that has come to define—well beyond the wildest expectations of its author—a growing field of unorthodox literary studies.
 

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Contents

A Geographical Sketch
5
Conjectures on World Literature
43
The Slaughterhouse ofLiterature
63
Planet Hollywood
91
More Conjectures
107
Evolution WorldSystems Weltlzteratur
121
A Reply
137
History and Theory
159
Reflections on 7000 Titles
179
Network Theory Plot Analysis
211
Index
241
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About the author (2013)

Franco Moretti teaches English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of Signs Taken for Wonders, The Way of the World and Modern Epic, all from Verso.

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