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Franco Moretti — Iser Lecture
13. Juli 2015, 19:00 – 20:00
Micromégas: the very small, the very large, and the space of digital humanities
A process whereby many very small units add up to a single very large system has become typical of the digital humanities — the signature, almost, of their approach to literature. It has also dramatically brought to light the role of scale in literary study: dramatically, in the sense that DH seem irresistibly drawn towards the extremes of the scale, whereas literary study has traditionally focused on the middle of the scale.
The middle as “the text”, usually; or as a scene, an excerpt, a series of verses to be memorized, quotations, allusions… Many choices, but all linked to this scale in the middle; probably, because it agrees so well with our capacity to understand, remember, and judge. This scale where readers are truly “the measure of things” seems so “natural” that it‘s never even perceived as a scale: it seems to go without saying. DH has shattered this long-standing convention. So, what does it mean, studying literature through these new coordinates – what does “literature” itself become, among charts and diagrams? This is the question I will try to address.
Der Literaturwissenschaftler Franco Moretti lehrt als Danily C. and Laura Louise Bell Professor in the Humanities an der Stanford University.
Berühmt geworden ist der von ihm 2000 geprägte Begriff des distant reading. Dabei werden große Textmengen mit quantitativen und statistischen Methoden erfasst, im Gegensatz zum herkömmlichen close reading, mittels dessen wenige Texte detailliert und qualitativ betrachtet werden. Insbesondere in den Digital Humanities erwartet man sich durch diese Methode neue Erkenntnisse.
Von Franco Moretti erschienen zuletzt: The Bourgeois (2013; dt. Suhrkamp 2014), und Distant Reading (2013).