The history of literary criticism is filled with would-be revolutionaries. But few have issued as radical a cry as Franco Moretti, the professor famous for urging his colleagues to stop reading books.
Most literary criticism is grounded in close reading, with scholars poring over individual texts to tease out subtle meanings. But to truly grasp the laws of literature, Mr. Moretti has argued in a series of polemics, requires “distant reading”: the computer-assisted crunching of thousands of texts at a time.
Author: Jennifer Schuessler