January 7, 2010
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Graphs Maps Trees

by Franco Moretti

Three intriguing short essays explore aspects of literary theory that might be illuminated by quantitative methods. The “graphs” here are Cartesian graphs and the “maps” are primarily geographic maps; the book limits itself to elementary analytical techniques. The chapter on “graphs” chiefly explores the growth in the publication of new novels, and specific genres, over time, observing that there is an important, qualitative transition when the rate of novel publishing ensures that there will always be plenty of new things to read. The chapter on maps features a fascinating map of 19th century Paris, locating their protagonists (chiefly in the 5e) and the objects of their desire (chiefly in the 7e and across the Seine).