The Bourgeois: Between History and Literatureby Franco Moretti
Thus begins Franco Moretti’s study of the bourgeois in modern European literature, where a gallery of individual portraits is entwined around the analysis of
"I am a member of the bourgeois class, feel myself to be such, and have been brought up on its opinions and ideals," wrote Max Weber, in 1895. Who could repeat these words today?
Thus begins Franco Moretti’s study of the bourgeois in modern European literature, where a gallery of individual portraits is entwined around the analysis of specific keywords – such as ‘useful’ and ‘earnest’, ‘efficiency’, ‘influence’, ‘comfort’, ‘roba’ – and of the formal mutations of the medium of prose. The book charts the rise and fall of bourgeois culture, exploring the causes for its historical
weakness, and searches for the seeds of its failures.
From the Hardcover edition.
“It’s a rare literary critic who attracts so much public attention, and there’s a good reason: few are as hellbent on rethinking the way we talk about literature.”—Times Literary Supplement
“Moretti, a mythopoeic figure, generates around himself a dense network of folklore and apocrypha.”—n+1
“Moretti is already famous in bookish circles for his data-centric approach to novels, which he graphs, maps, and charts ... if his new methods catch on, they could change the way we look at literary history.”—Wired
“Distant reading might prove to be a powerful tool for studying literature.”—New York Times
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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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