As Moretti (2007) points out, the traditional humanities focuses on a minimal fraction of the literary field ... [a] canon of two hundred novels, for instance, sounds very large for nineteenth-century Britain (and is much larger than the current one), but is still less than one per cent of the novels that were actually published: twenty thousand, thirty, more, no one really knows – and close reading won’t help here, a novel a day every day of the year would take a century or so. ... And it’s not even a matter of time, but of method: a field this large cannot be understood by stitching together separate bits of knowledge about individual cases, because it isn’t a sum of individual cases: it’s a collective system, that should be grasped as such, as a whole. (Moretti 2007: 3–4)

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A quote saved on Nov. 18, 2014.


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