Shakespearean tragedy and Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and Ulysses, Frankenstei and The Waste Land—all are celebrated “wonders” of modern literature, whether in its mandarin or popular form. However, it is the fact that these texts are so central to our contemporary notion of literature that sometimes hinders our ability to understand them. Franco Moretti applies himself to this problem by drawing skillfully on structuralist, sociological and psycho-analytic modes of enquity in order to read these texts as literary systems which are tokens of wider cultural and political realities. In the process, Moretti offers us compelling accounts of various literary genres, explores the relationships between high and mass culture in this century, and considers the relevance of tragic, Romantic and Darwinian views of the world.
The formation of an unorthodox literary critic 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.
Professor Franco Moretti argues heretically that literature scholars should stop reading books and start counting, graphing, and mapping them instead. He insists that such a move could bring new luster to a tired field, one that in some respects is among "the most backwards disciplines in the academy." Literary study, he argues, has been random and unsystematic. For any given period scholars focus on a select group of a mere few hundred texts: the canon. As a result, they have allowed a narrow distorting slice of history to pass for the total picture. Moretti offers bar charts, maps, and time lines instead, developing the idea of "distant reading," set forth in his path-breaking essay "Conjectures on World Literature," into a full-blown experiment in literary historiography, where 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.
Author: Vincent J. Cheng
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 1995-05-25
Genre: Literary Criticism
In this first full-length study of race and colonialism in the works of James Joyce, Vincent J. Cheng argues that Joyce wrote insistently from the perspective of a colonial subject of an oppressive empire, and demonstrates how Joyce's texts constitute a significant political commentary on British imperialism in Ireland and on colonial discourses and ideologies in general. This is a groundbreaking study of the century's most internationally influential fiction writer, and of his powerful representations of the cultural dynamics of race, power, and empire.
In a series of 100 maps Atlas of the European Novel exposes the fascinating connections between literature and space. In this pioneering study Franco Moretti presents a fresh and exciting perspective by mapping the often unexpected relations between literature and geography.
Author: Arthur C. Danto
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2017-03-14
Arthur C. Danto's essays not only critique bodies of work but reflect upon art's conceptual evolution as well, drawing for the reader a kind of "philosophical map" indicating how art and the criteria for judging it has changed over the twentieth century. In Unnatural Wonders the renowned critic finds himself at a point when contemporary art has become wholly pluralistic, even chaotic-with one medium as good as another-and when the moment for the "next thing" has already passed. So the theorist goes in search of contemporary art's most exhilarating achievements, work that bridges the gap between art and life, which, he argues, is now the definitive art of our time. Danto considers the work of such young artists as John Currin and Renee Cox and older living masters including Gerhard Richter and Sol LeWitt. He discusses artists of the New York School, like Philip Guston and Joan Mitchell, and international talents, such as the South African William Kentridge. Danto conducts a frank analysis of Matthew Barney's The Cremaster Cycle, Damien Hirst's skeletons and anatomical models, and Barbara Kruger's tchotchke-ready slogans; finds the ghost of Henry James in the work of Barnett Newman; and muses on recent Whitney Biennials and art influenced by 9/11. He argues that aesthetic considerations no longer play a central role in the experience and critique of art. Instead art addresses us in our humanity, as men and women who seek meaning in the "unnatural wonders" of art, a meaning that philosophy and religion are unable to provide.
Author: Franco Moretti
Release Date: 2013-06-04
Genre: Social Science
Who – and what – are the Bourgeois? “The bourgeois ... Not so long ago, this notion seemed indispensable to social analysis; these days, one might go years without hearing it mentioned. Capitalism is more powerful than ever, but its human embodiment seems to have vanished. ‘I am a member of the bourgeois class, feel myself to be such, and have been brought up on its opinions and ideals,’ wrote Max Weber, in 1895. Who could repeat these words today? Bourgeois ‘opinions and ideals’—what are they?” Thus begins Franco Moretti’s study of the bourgeois in modern European literature—a major new analysis of the once-dominant culture and its literary decline and fall. Moretti’s gallery of individual portraits is entwined with the analysis of specific keywords—“useful” and “earnest,” “efficiency,” “influence,” “comfort,” “roba”—and of the formal mutations of the medium of prose. From the “working master” of the opening chapter, through the seriousness of nineteenth-century novels, the conservative hegemony of Victorian Britain, the “national malformations” of the Southern and Eastern periphery, and the radical self-critique of Ibsen’s twelve-play cycle, the book charts the vicissitudes of bourgeois culture, exploring the causes for its historical weakness, and for its current irrelevance.
Author: Susan Sontag
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: 2002-11-09
Genre: Literary Collections
Susan Sontag has said that her earliest idea of what a writer should be was "someone who is interested in everything." Thirty-five years after her first collection of essays, the now classic Against Interpretation, our most important essayist has chosen more than forty longer and shorter pieces from the last two decades that illustrate a deeply felt, kaleidoscopic array of interests, passions, observations, and ideas. "Reading" offers ardent, freewheeling considerations of talismanic writers from her own private canon, such as Marina Tsvetaeva, Randall Jarrell, Roland Barthes, Machado de Assis, W. G. Sebald, Borges, and Elizabeth Hardwick. "Seeing" is a series of luminous and incisive encounters with film, dance, photography, painting, opera, and theatre. And in the final section, "There and Here," Sontag explores some of her own commitments: to the work (and activism) of conscience, to the concreteness of historical understanding, and to the vocation of the writer. Where the Stress Falls records a great American writer's urgent engagement with some of the most significant aesthetic and moral issues of the late twentieth century, and provides a brilliant and clear-eyed appraisal of what is at stake, in this new century, in the survival of that inheritance.
The present volume collects generalist, specialist, academic, and nonacademic responses by statisticians, philosophers, historians, literary scholars, and others--as well as Moretti's comments about the responses to his work "Graphs, Maps, and Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History."
Author: R. J. Palacio
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 2012-02-14
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING JULIA ROBERTS, OWEN WILSON, AND JACOB TREMBLAY! Over 6 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller WONDER and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse. August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. "Wonder is the best kids' book of the year," said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out. Join the conversation: #thewonderofwonder
A Harvard English professor's intimate meditation on the pros and cons of reading in the digital age seeks to restore a traditional definition of literature, explaining how historical debates and modern interpretations reflect key cultural dynamics. Reprint.
In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf imagines that Shakespeare had a sister: a sister equal to Shakespeare in talent, equal in genius, but whose legacy is radically different.This imaginary woman never writes a word and dies by her own hand, her genius unexpressed. But if only she had found the means to create, urges Woolf, she would have reached the same heights as her immortal sibling. In this classic essay,Virginia Woolf takes on the establishment, using her gift of language to dissect the world around her and give a voice to those who have none. Her message is simple: A woman must have a fixed income and a room of her own in order to have the freedom to create. Annotated and with an introduction by Susan Gubar