Signs Taken for Wonders: On the Sociology of Literary Forms

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Shakespearean tragedy and Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and Ulysses, Frankenstei and The Waste Land—all are celebrated “wonders” of modern literature, whether in its mandarin or popular form. However, it is the fact that these texts are so central to our contemporary notion of literature that sometimes hinders our ability to understand them. Franco Moretti applies himself to this problem by drawing skillfully on structuralist, sociological and psycho-analytic modes of enquity in order to read these texts as literary ...
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Overview

Shakespearean tragedy and Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and Ulysses, Frankenstei and The Waste Land—all are celebrated “wonders” of modern literature, whether in its mandarin or popular form. However, it is the fact that these texts are so central to our contemporary notion of literature that sometimes hinders our ability to understand them. Franco Moretti applies himself to this problem by drawing skillfully on structuralist, sociological and psycho-analytic modes of enquity in order to read these texts as literary systems which are tokens of wider cultural and political realities. In the process, Moretti offers us compelling accounts of various literary genres, explores the relationships between high and mass culture in this century, and considers the relevance of tragic, Romantic and Darwinian views of the world.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A sheer intelligence animates the pages of Mr Moretti’s work.”—Edward Said

“Breathtaking ... Moretti’s radiant intelligence can catch you off guard.”—San Francisco Review of Books

Edward Said
“A sheer intelligence animates the pages of Mr Moretti’s work.”
San Francisco Review of Books
“Breathtaking ... Moretti's radiant intelligence can catch you off guard.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844670567
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 1/17/2006
  • Series: Radical Thinkers Series
  • Pages: 273
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Franco Moretti teaches English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of Signs Taken for Wonders, The Way of the World and Modern Epic, all from Verso.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
1 The Soul and the Harpy: Reflections on the Aims and Methods of Literary Historiography 1
2 The Great Eclipse: Tragic Form as the Deconsecration of Sovereignty 42
3 Dialectic of Fear 83
4 Homo Palpitans: Balzac's Novels and Urban Personality 109
5 Clues 130
6 Kindergarten 157
7 The Long Goodbye: Ulysses and the End of Liberal Capitalism 182
8 From The Waste Land to the Artificial Paradise 209
9 The Spell of Indecision 240
10 The Moment of Truth 249
11 On Literary Evolution 262
Notes 279
Index 310
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