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Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History [Paperback]

Franco Moretti , Alberto Piazza

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Book Description

Sept. 17 2007 1844671852 978-1844671854
In this groundbreaking book, Franco Moretti argues that literature scholars should stop reading books and start counting, graphing, and mapping them instead. In place of the traditionally selective literary canon of a few hundred texts, Moretti offers charts, maps and time lines, developing the idea of “distant reading” into a full-blown experiment in literary historiography, in which the canon disappears into the larger literary system. Charting entire genres—the epistolary, the gothic, and the historical novel—as well as the literary output of countries such as Japan, Italy, Spain, and Nigeria, he shows how literary history looks significantly different from what is commonly supposed and how the concept of aesthetic form can be radically redefined.

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Review

“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.”—Times Literary Supplement

“The great iconoclast of literary criticism ... Moretti’s discourse, as has often been noted, is marked by the same subtlety and unpredictability as his fellow Italian, Umberto Eco.”—Guardian

“Mr. Moretti makes his most forceful case yet for his approach, a heretical blend of quantitative history, geography and evolutionary theory.”—New York Times

About the Author

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.

Alberto Piazza is Professor Human Genetics at the Medical School of Turin University. He is a co-author of the History and Geography of Human Genes.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you're into sociology of literature, read this book Aug. 3 2014
By Scobin - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
While this book is too short to launch a revolution in itself, it gives a provoking insight into Franco Moretti's challenges to traditional literary history. I have also found the book to be an important input into the sociology of literature, and I'd recommend reading "Graphs, Maps, Trees" to anyone interested in this field of study.
14 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Experiment, and Worth a Read Aug. 23 2008
By noneal - Published on Amazon.com
I like to see any new attempts at rigorously analyzing qualitative data, especially attempts that don't merely rely on simple coding. I also like to see visual and schematic thinking in action. Moretti's book isn't quite a revelation, not quite the start of a revolution, but it's worth exploring. Maybe one day he'll be acknowledged as one of the granddaddies of a new kind of thinking. Absolutely worth reading and digesting, but don't necessarily expect it to rock your world.

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