November 17, 2000 – Franco Moretti: Lecture & Seminar

The Space of the Novel & World Literature
Friday, November 17
Oakes Mural Room
12:00-2:00 PM

On Bourgeois Seriousness
Friday November 17
Oakes Mural Room
4:00 PM

Seminar Reading: Atlas of the European Novel, pp. 164-197 (from Chapter 3, “Narrative Markets ca. 1850”) and “Conjectures on World Literature,” New Left Review 1 (Jan/Feb 2000): 54-68.

Copies of the reading are available for UCSC faculty and students at the Center office or may be requested by email ( Please make email requests at least one week in advance.

The 1983 appearance of the essay collection Signs Taken for Wonders(Verso) established Franco Moretti as an original and paradigm-shifting voice in the study of literature and the social. Subjecting a wide range of literature–James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Shakespearean tragedy, boys’ tear-jerker novels, Arthur Conan Doyle–to analysis simultaneously historical and rhetorical, Moretti opened up the field of literary history along lines begun by Georg Lukacs, Lucien Goldmann, Walter Benjamin, and Teodor Adorno, among others. Next came The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture(Verso, 1987), an analysis of what Moretti posited as the primary literary medium of bourgeois socialization. Modern Epic: The World System from Goethe to Garcia Marquez(Verso, 1995) provided a new analytical framework where formal and generic breakthrough is read coterminously with capitalist world hegemony–for a consideration of those monuments of European modernity: FaustThe Ring, and Ulysses. With Atlas of the European Novel 1800-1900(Verso, 1998), Moretti has re-invented the field of literary geography. In one hundred maps, Moretti charts not only the literary geography of modernity, but the role of literature in shaping the spatial and geographical imagination at micro-and macro-levels of analysis. The seminar will center on the geographical project, and will include in the introductory remarks some of Moretti’s new work on the geography of film. The talk, “On Bourgeois Seriousness,” is part of Moretti’s ongoing research on the figure of the bourgeois in European literature and social theory. Franco Moretti taught for many years in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, and has recently become Professor of English at Stanford University, where he also directs the Center for the Study of the Novel.