Charting the ebb and flow of intellectual life is a fun pasttime, if one has the inclination. Franco Moretti's new book, Atlas of the Historical Novel, is interesting because it is another example of the current ebb. In 1998 W. J. T. Mitchell published The Last Dinosaur Book, which contained a plea for a "synthesis of Darwin and those other two great early modern thinkers ... Marx and Freud." Such a statement of need is astonishing to hear from a professor of the humanities, that sector of the university that has always prided itself on its refusal to hear Darwin's case, for that case has been dismissed as an improper importation of economics into other fields-and, not so veiledly, as a cover for a particular political agenda. Now, however, the tide has turned, and apparently biology and science are making headway in the humanities. Moretti's book, with its talk of London as a "self-organizing system" and its other metaphors drawn from chaos theory and such, is a good example. There is, also, the use of statistics, as in the charts of the amounts of foreign novels in British libraries. It is also interesting that Moretti's book is written in a very clear prose, quite the opposite of the sort of jargon-filled texts we have come to expect from our "Critical Theory" professors. Something, it seems, is in the air. In any case, a student of the novel should find this work a kind of updating or commentary upon Ian Watt's justly famous Rise of the Novel-and for those with more sophisticated tastes, I think this book supplies a great lesson about the movements of a culture. For it shows, I think, how the revolutionary insights of a previous generation must be absorbed by the culture before they may become a part of its mental furniture, as this book attempts to do. This book understands that a far better model for the revolutionary intellectual is the sapper, and not the bomb-thrower.