Time was when New York’s Museum of Modern Art plumed itself as an uncompromising guardian of Modernism. The arrival of its ‘themed’ re-hang—mimicked now at London’s Tate Modern—reduces a hundred years of defiguration to a stroll through an aesthetic department store.
MoMA2000: THE CAPITULATION
A few months ago, The Museum of Modern Art of New York had a very large exhibition, entitled ‘modernstarts’. So large, in fact, that it was not shown alongside the permanent collections but instead of them (it occupied all three floors of the Museum). Given that ‘modernstarts’ was just the beginning of the ‘MoMA2000’ project, and that the MoMA itself will move into a new building in four or five years, when the Statement from the Director spoke of ‘a unique opportunity for the Museum to literally reconfigure many of its galleries’, it was clear what was happening: they were trying to imagine a Modernism for the twenty-first century. What would it look like?
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What can quantitative linguistic analysis reveal about global institutions? From Bretton Woods to the present, the language of World Bank reports has undergone telling modulations. Moretti and Pestre track the decline of concrete referents and active verbs, the triumph of acronyms over nation-states—and irresistible rise of ‘governance’.
Lukács’s Theory of the Novel
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Network Theory, Plot Analysis
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The Grey Area
Flexible morality and capitalist imperatives of the bourgeois fin-de-siècle, as captured in the obscure misdeeds of Ibsen’s protagonists.
The Novel: History and Theory
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The End of the Beginning
Franco Moretti responds to criticisms of his quantative approach to literary history, from Christopher Prendergast and Roberto Schwarz. Origins, upshots—and potential limitations?—of the abstract models developed in Graphs, Maps, Trees.
Graphs, Maps, Trees - 3
After ‘graphs’ and ‘maps’, trees: can evolutionary theory help pattern the transformation of cultural forms and divergence of genres, through time and space? Franco Moretti’s final essay on abstract models for literary history.
Graphs, Maps, Trees - 2
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