Book review: Moretti, Franco. 2020. A una certa distanza. Leggere i testi letterari nel nuovo millennio. Rome: Carocci
How does a literary historian end up thinking in terms of z-scores, principal component analysis, and clustering coefficients? The ten essays in Distant Reading led to a new and contested paradigm of literary analysis. In presenting them 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» (1993), through the geo-cultural insights of «Conjectures on World Literature» (2000), «The Slaughterhouse of Literature» (2000) and «Planet Hollywood» (2001) to the quantitative findings of «Style, Inc.» (2009) and the abstract patterns of «Network Theory, Plot Analysis» (2011), the book follows two decades of critical explorations that have come to define – well beyond the expectations of its author – a growing field of unorthodox literary studies that ten years after the publication of the last essay continue to be the object of research and innovation.
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