Moretti on Hamlet

Franco Moretti has a piece on Hamlet in New Left Review. It’s available here, though that may require subscription, or free access in a variant form here.

This is an illustration of how Moretti’s approach of not reading novels as much as mapping, graphing and diagramming them works. It shows both the benefits and limitations of the analysis. It generates stuff like this:


Some of the later material on sovereignty and legitimacy is interesting, visually depicting the claim that “Shakespeare’s major tragedies are reflections on the nature of sovereignty, in which an initial figure of legitimacy is ousted by a usurper, who is in his turn defeated by a second figure of legitimacy” (p. 88). This leads to some thoughts on King Lear. 

There is also the later the claim that geography replaces genealogy as the “hidden dimension of fate”: “Genealogy, vertical, rooted in myth; geography, horizontal, in something like the nascent European state system” (p. 92).

Thanks to Crooked Timber for the link, in a piece with the inspired title of ‘Six Degrees of Danish Bacon’.

This entry was posted in Franco Moretti, William Shakespeare. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Moretti on Hamlet

  1. Pingback: Derrida, Heidegger, Moretti | Progressive Geographies

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