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Response to Language Links #2

This post does not reflect the official opinions of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, the SLA Blog or individual members of the SLA.

From: Aaron Bady, Oakland, CA:
Do you notice how none of the “don’t read” stuff in that article are actually quotes from Moretti?

For example, here’s Moretti:
“[W]hy set quantitative evidence in opposition to “attention to syntax, linguistic register, and grammar”? From the moment I started using external models for literary study—evolutionary theory, over twenty years ago—I realized that their great advantage lies precisely in the fact that they renew and galvanize formal analysis. At times, the external model makes literary structures more perspicuous: it’s the case of maps. At other times, it provides a conceptual architecture for the history of forms: evolutionary theory. And quantitative series, for their part, allow us to see new problems, whose solution is usually found at the level of formal choices (linguistic, rhetorical, or a mix thereof). The specific relationship between literary form and nonliterary model varies from case to case; but the relationship is always there.”
And here’s Matthew Jockers (Moretti’s co-director) saying the same thing, last December:
 “The macroanalytic approach to literature is a complement to our traditional practices of close reading and provides a new level of information that further enriches our understanding of the literary “ecosystem” and offers new approaches, new insights, and new knowledge.
While there are some who would characterize this approach as antithetical to the tradition of close-reading, nothing could be further from the truth. The macroanalytic data contextualizes and informs our readings of the individual texts, and our understanding of the individual texts provides context for understanding the macro-patterns. We move back and forth between the two types of data.