Graphs, Maps, and Trees! Oh My!

Franco Moretti's book Graphs, Maps, and Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History takes a novel approach to literary criticism: instead of analyzing individual novels, he looks at genres as a whole and uses charts and graphs like these to illustrate his points . . . one of his more interesting charts show the development of clues in detective fiction and how this trait was revolutionary and evolutionary in its birth, growth, competition, and survival, but what interests me is another evolutionary metaphor he uses; he mentions Richard Dawkins' idea that "there are many ways of being alive, but many more ways of being dead" and Moretti shows this with detective fiction and those authors that couldn't figure out how to create and place "decodable" clues in their stories-- these stories became "extinct," and this brings me to my worries about this blog: there are more ways for a blog to die than there are for a blog to flourish, but perhaps if I pursue what Moretti calls the "third voice," that voice that is "intermediate and almost neutral in tone between character and narrator: the composed, slightly resigned voice of the well-socialized individual," then perhaps, against the better judgment of the Narrator, who often wonders what comprises the actual aim of his writing, but wishes to remain artistically and intellectually active, and wishes to fend off early-onset Alzheimer's, boredom, ennui and malaise, and so continues this semi-literary foray in the backwaters of the internet, come hell or high water, critical commentary, and even-- worst of all-- total silence, then perhaps the Narrator will be able to forge ahead into unknown realms, one sentence at a time.

1 comment:

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