Study Guide

Franco Moretti Social Media


Moretti gets attention outside the ivory tower; or, as one critic put it, "He is one of the few literary theorists whose activities are treated by outlets like The New York Times as news, or whose books might conceivably be displayed prominently in a bookstore along with hip new fiction." (Source.)


He's never considered boring or average. In fact, "profiles of his work not infrequently lapse into myth-making, characterizing Moretti as a mad scientist or Sherlockian genius." (Source.)


Having trouble with your teachers? Consider the options. One writer reports that Moretti "has hired five graduate students to retype the first paragraphs of every Victorian novel ever written." (Source.)


So maybe his term paper assignments are a little different; according to one report "he 'doesn't believe in' word count, prefers instead to calculate the average number of characters per word in his students' papers, and anyone with an average of six or higher gets an F." (Source.)


Moretti gets really down when he thinks about how few books represent an entire era of literature: "The history of the world is the slaughterhouse of the world [...] of literature. The majority of books disappear forever—and 'majority' actually misses the point: if we set today's canon of nineteenth-century British novels at two hundred titles (which is a very high figure), they would still be only about 0.5 percent of all published novels." (Source.)

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