Literary scholar Moretti to present Indiana University Patten Lectures

  • Jan. 10, 2017


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Franco Moretti, a literary scholar and a leading proponent of digital and computational humanities scholarship, will present two Patten Lectures this month at Indiana University Bloomington.

Moretti, who has audiences both inside and outside the humanities, is the Danily C. and Laura Louise Bell Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University. He is the founder of the Center for the Study of the Novel and founder and director of the Stanford Literary Lab.

Topics for his Patten Lectures will be:

Moretti's early books, including "Signs Taken for Wonders," "The Way of the World" and "Modern Epic," established him as perhaps the most distinguished living critic of the European novel in the "realist" tradition. His more recent work has built on the quantitative approach to studying literature that he first laid out in 1998 in "Atlas of the American Novel."

In his influential article "The Slaughterhouse of Literature," Moretti wrote that the literary canon represents only 0.5 percent of works published and read, and he set for himself the task of reading the other 99.5 percent, the "Great Unread."

In 2010, he founded the Stanford Literary Lab as a means of analyzing literature through statistical and computational methods. The lab's projects have included mapping the proximity of characters in Renaissance drama, analyzing the geography of emotion in the 19th-century novel and describing how environmental law creates a linguistic atmosphere where choices appear natural and inevitable. In 2013 he published "Distant Reading," a manifesto for the approach he champions and a rejoinder to the traditional practice of "close reading."

A frequent contributor to the New Left Review, Moretti is the author of seven books and editor of a five-volume encyclopedia of the novel.

The William T. Patten Foundation

The William T. Patten Foundation, endowed by a student of the Indiana University class of 1893, provides generous funds to bring to the Bloomington campus for a week people of extraordinary national and international distinction in the sciences, humanities and arts. Past lecturers have included Oscar Arias, Jorge Luis Borges, Wendell Berry, Noam Chomsky, Natalie Zemon Davis, Umberto Eco, Werner Herzog, Julian S. Huxley, Evelyn Fox Keller, Toni Morrison, Martha Nussbaum and Amos Oz.

Inquiries about the Patten Foundation, the Patten Lecture Series and future nominations may be directed to

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