Study Guide

Franco Moretti - People Who Believe That Reading a Book Still Has Meaning

People Who Believe That Reading a Book Still Has Meaning

To the digital humanities crowd, this group is like the tortoise in that story about the tortoise and the hare... only as far as the DH crowd is concerned, this tortoise never got to the finish line.

These people don't waste time dissing the digital humanities project and its speedy efforts to expedite our understanding of literature. They're too busy going old school, savoring every single word of Moby-Dick.

Harold Bloom

President

You'd have to pry a collection of Shakespeare's sonnets from Harold's cold, dead hand before he would give it up. This lover of literature tried not to get all dogmatic, but he loves books and would rather analyze them himself rather than have some computer do it, thank you very much.

Bloom doesn't mince words, either. When asked for his thoughts on all this DH business, he called Moretti ''an absurdity," curtly adding, ''I am interested in reading. That's all I'm interested in" (source).

Cleanth Brooks

Veep

Anyone with a book titled Modern Poetry and the Tradition is an automatic in for this group. Brooks lived and breathed close reading. Notably, he and the DH folks agreed on one thing: that a poem's form is important. He just didn't agree that form was more important than content.

Robert Penn Warren

PR Manager

When it came to DH, Bob wasn't having it. He was a novelist and a critic, which put him in the unique position of giving a hoot about the crafts of reading and writing. The group just had to include him for two very important reasons: he has his own center for the humanities (Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities—take that, Stanford Literary Lab). More importantly, the guy has his own commemorative stamp, and that means he's right up there with other bestamped folks like Frank Sinatra and DC Comic Super Heroes. So cool.

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