I missed this, so I guess that one or two of you might have missed it as well: John Sutherland meets Franco Moretti.

Moretti has spoken previously of making criticism less like a Platonic academy, and more like a laboratory. But what does he mean by that? "A Platonic academy, or symposium," he says, "is a group of people sitting round a table discussing ideas, which is a great thing to do. But it may have run its course, historically. What I mean by talking about laboratories is that larger and larger banks of data are becoming available, and we have absolutely no idea of how to deal with them. In just a few years, all the texts in existence will be online, and searchable. We really do not know how to pose useful questions to that mass of information.

Readers Comments

  1. "So is Moretti suggesting a kind of "macro-criticism", which can know the whole of literature without undertaking the Herculean task of reading it all?"

    That old chestnut? Anyone who's studied literature knows the guilty pleasure of pontificating on a work that you haven't read...

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