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New Left Review 26, March-April 2004

After ‘Graphs’ (see NLR 24), maps: geography, or social geometry? Literary spaces plotted as competing fields for industrialization, peasant rebellion, state formation. The second of Moretti’s three essays conceptualizing patterns of genre and history, form and force.



Abstract Models for Literary History—2

There is a very simple question, about literary maps: what exactly do they do? What do they do that cannot be done with words, that is; because, if it can be done with words, then maps are superfluous. Take Bakhtin’s essay on the chronotope: it is the greatest study ever written on space and narrative, and it doesn’t have a single map. Carlo Dionisotti’s Geografia e storia della letteratura italiana, the same. Raymond Williams’s The Country and the City, the same. Henri Lafon’s Espaces romanesques du XVIIIe siècle . . . Do maps add anything, to our knowledge of literature?

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Franco Moretti, ‘Graphs, Maps, Trees - 2’, NLR 26: £3

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