Saturday, January 31, 2004

A Shrug For Atlas

Quite good is "A Shrug For Atlas : A short essay on the propaganda novel".

I too used to read this stuff in college.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Moretti and the Systematic, Empirical Study of Literature

Stanford Prof Franco Moretti has discovered what we knew to be true all along.

In a January 10, 2004 article in the New York Times, Emily Eakin relates the most interesting results of Moretti's empirical research on the history of literature - see Studying Literature by the Numbers.

Eakin relates that Moretti argues that:
"Literary study ... has been a random, unsystematic affair. For any given period, scholars focus on a select group of a mere few hundred texts: the canon. As a result, they have allowed a narrow, distorting slice of literary history to pass for the total picture."

As a result,

"Mr. Moretti argues, literary history looks significantly different from what is commonly supposed."

As might be expected, Yale Prof Harold Bloom, an old fashioned supporter of canonical (orthodox) literature, considers Moretti's empirical, statistical approach to literature to be absurd and is quoted as saying

"I am interested in reading ... That's all I'm interested in."

Bloom misses the entire point. HIS students read what HE selects and literary profs greatly mold literary tastes by THEIR selections. Moretti is saying that an objective, statistical view of literary history shows that our literary selections at any given time - including selections made by the Professors - are largely subjective, and, may indeed not even be representative of the actual state of literature in that era.

We agree with Moretti.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Mars is In

Mars at the moment is "in" so we ought to take a look at this review of Robert A. Heinlein's science fiction book Stranger in a Strange Land about an earth child born and raised on Mars, who is returned to Earth 25 years after the departure of the initial Martian visitors.

If you do not know what GROK means, you will if you go the above link. The word was coined by Heinlein.
Do you GROK?!

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