166 Pages

Reading Graphs, Maps, and Trees


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Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History is one of the most provocative recent works of literary history. The present volume collects generalist and specialist, academic and nonacademic responses by statisticians, philosophers, historians, literary scholars and others. And Moretti’s responses to these responses.



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Published 14 January 2011
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EAN13 9781602352063
Language English
Document size 1 MB

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edited by
Jonathan Goodwin  & John Holbo
Graphs,  Maps,  Trees
 critical  responses  to  Franco  Moretti
a Valve book event
Glassbead Books John Holbo, Editor
Reading Graphs, Maps, Trees Responses to Franco Moretti
Edited by Jonathan Goodwin & John Holbo
aValvebook event
Parlor Press Anderson, South Carolina www.parlorpress.com
Parlor Press LLC, Anderson, South Carolina, 29621 Printed in the United States of America © 2011 by Parlor Press.
Reading Graphs, Maps, and Treesby http://www.parlorpress.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Un-ported License. Based on a work at www.thevalve.org. His work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecom-mons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Reading Graphs, maps & trees : responses to Franco Moretti / edited by Jonathan Goodwin & John olbo.  p. cm. "A Valve Book event." Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-1-60235-205-6 (pbk. : alk. paper) -- ISBN 978-1-60235-206-3 (Adobe ebook) 1. Moretti, Franco, 1950- Graphs, maps, trees. 2. Fiction--istory and criticism. 3. Literature--Philosophy. 4. Criticism. I. Goodwin, Jonathan, 1973 Nov. 26- II. olbo, John, 1967- III. Title: Reading Graphs, maps and trees. PN3331.M6737 2011 809--dc22  2010054541
He book you are holding—if you are holding a book—is available as a free PDF download. Visit http://www.parlorpress.com
Parlor Press, LLC is an independent publisher of scholarly and trade titles in print and multimedia formats. His book is available in paper and Adobe eBook formats from Parlor Press on the World Wide Web at http://www.parlorpress.com or through online and brick-and mortar bookstores. For submission information or to înd out about Parlor Press publications, write to Parlor Press, 3015 Brackenberry Drive, Anderson, South Carolina, 29621, or email editor@parlorpress.com.
Cover design Belle Waring.
Franco Moretti’sGraphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models For Literary Historyis published by Verso (2005).
This ‘book event’ consisted of a series of posts about Moretti’s book atThe Valve. The event was organized by Jonathan Goodwin. Readers met author, semi-seminar-style; still more readers left comments, blog-style. For this book, the posts have been edited for typos, clarity, style, second thoughts, suitability for inclusion. The original event archive as a whole has a permanent URL, should you wish to compare the origi-nal versions of these pieces with the versions included here:
Paper has been a bit of a puzzle. We have opted to make it ty-pographically clear where links appear in the electronic ver-sion. Readers of the paper version who wish to follow links can download the PDF version of the book from Parlor Press, or check the original posts.
Jonathan Goodwin ix
1. Graphs, Maps, Trees, Fruits of The MLA John Holbo 3
2. Graphs, Maps, Trees/Sets amper Grasp Ray Davis 15
3. Poetry, Patterns, and Provocation Matthew Kirschenbaum 31 4. Book Notes: Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, TreesTim Burke 41 5. A Brief Note on Moretti and Science FictionAdam Roberts 49
6. Maps, Iconic and Abstract Bill Benzon7. A undred Flowers Eric Hayot8. Moretti Responds (I) Franco Moretti
9. Moretti Responds (II) Franco Moretti
10. Totality and the Genes of Literature Jonathan Goodwin
64 71
73 76
11. Distant Reading Minds Steven Berlin Johnson 81 12. The Next Cigarette and a Modest Garnish Jenny Davidson 85
13. Judging Books By Their Covers – or – Chance Favors the Prepared Meme John Holbo 92 14. Moretti Responds (III) Franco Moretti 105 15. uman, Not So uman: A Few Quibbles About Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees Sean McCann 108
16. Graphs, Trees, Materialism, Fishing Cosma ShaliziContributors
115 141
Jonathan Goodwin
Here was almost universal enthusiasm for the perceived nov-elty and brilliance of Franco Moretti’s project in our book event, the third such event the Valve has hosted. Inter- and multi-disciplinarity is both praised and reviled by many academics; there is a sense that traditional disciplines are outmoded administrative conveniences but also suspicion of the possibility of mastering another îeld in an era of hyper-specialization. As a way of helping to assess this phenomenon in literary history and criticism, I will briey discuss the use of interdisciplinary techniques in Moretti’s previous work, with special attention to the concepts borrowed from evo-lutionary biology. Aerwards, I will give an overview of the contributions in the present volume, many of which take as their starting point Moretti’s interest in evolution. Purchasers of the most recent edition of Moretti’s col-lection of essays,Signs Taken for Wonders, may have noticed that the essay “On Literary Evolution” was not included. According to Moretti, this was an oversight. I mention this because many of the ideas that would lead toGMTare îrst presented here, and I wondered briey if it were deliberately le out of the collection due to obsolescence. Moretti uses an evolutionary metaphor at the beginning of the essay. e argues that a Lamarckian understanding of evolution, one where variations are goal-oriented, characterizes the under-standing of culture and of theories of history derived from egel. e suggests that instead it might be useful to apply a Darwinian understanding to this aspect of cultural evolu-