Atlas of the European Novel 1800-1900 by Franco Moretti

By Franco Moretti

An Atlas of the eu Novel 1800-1900 explores the attention-grabbing connections among literature and area. during this pioneering learn, Franco Moretti provides a clean and fascinating standpoint at the eu novel.In a chain of 1 hundred maps, Moretti illuminates the geographical assumptions of nineteenth-century novels and the geographical succeed in of specific authors and genres around the continent. an excellent map, he discovers, could be worthy 1000 phrases in posing new questions and permitting us to work out connections that experience to this point escaped us. interpreting his Atlas, we detect the key constitution of Dickens's and Conan Doyle's London, and notice how the fictitious settings of Austen's Britain, or picaresque Spain, or the France of the Comedie humaine think nationwide id in several methods. In a last bankruptcy on 'narrative markets', Moretti tells us which books have been hottest within the provincial libraries of Victorian Britain, and charts the ecu diffusion of Don Quixote, Buddenbrooks, and the good nineteenth-century bestsellers.

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1 was taught toread novels, a Cambridge student once told me, by turning the pages, and waiting for the damned metaphors. And they never, ever showed up. 7· Taking the high road Ja~e Austen, and the 'core' of the nation-state. Historical novels, and borders. In the next chapter, urban novels (and in the next book, whÓ"K:nows, regional ones). The novel and the nation-state, reads this 18 Following Ricreur, I am confining myself to the cognitive role of metaphors: but their emotionalfunction is clearly justas relevant (after all, describingpeople like demons, or alleys like sewers, is hardly a passionless sketch).

Significan ti y enough, manuallabour is absent from both spaces: a tacit acknowledgment of the fact that, in a capitalist society, manuallabourdocs not con· tribute to the formation of a fully developed human being, but rather to his or her disintegration- as ]u de the Obscure will make clear at the end of the century. 69 (figure 33). Quantity has produced a new form: the novel of complexity. This will be the tapie of the next chapter. ,_ '<~ -:. ·r~l .... ; . i:f~ ·. ,, . ~ l/. ··é' ~~~~-r :~;\~~~~{~i;;u~~~l1:1:·'~.

Although metaphors still increase near the border, the latter is only seldom a geographical entity: usually, it belongs toa scale of experience for which the term 'geography' is wholly inappropriate. The staircase of the Gothic, the window in Wuthering Heights, the threshold in Dostoevsky, the pit in Germinal: here are sorne 'frontiers' of great metaphorical intensity- none of which is however a geographical border. · But there is more. As style is indeed correlated to space, so space is correlated to plot: from Propp to Lotman, the crossing of a spatial border is usually also the decisive event of the narrative structure.

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