This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, see our privacy statement

New Left Review 68, March-April 2011

franco moretti


In the last few years, literary studies have experienced what we could call the rise of quantitative evidence. This had happened before of course, without producing lasting effects, but this time it is probably going to be different, because this time we have digital databases and automated data retrieval. As a recent article in Science on ‘Culturomics’ made clear, the width of the corpus and the speed of the search have increased beyond all expectations: today, we can replicate in a few minutes investigations that took a giant like Leo Spitzer months and years of work. [1] Jean-Baptiste Michel, Erez Lieberman Aiden et al., ‘Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books’, Science, December 2010. When it comes to phenomena of language and style, we can do things that previous generations could only dream of.

Subscribe for just £45 and get free access to the archive
Please login on the left to read more or buy the article for £3


Franco Moretti, ‘Network Theory, Plot Analysis’, NLR 68: £3

If you want to create a new NLR account please register here

’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’

New NLR website coming soon—click here for a preview.