The first time I introduced students to distant reading methods, I provided them with Franco Moretti’s “Conjectures on World Literature” and “Slaughterhouse of Literature,” two key essays that explain his purpose. For the most curious students with some English courses behind them, these essays are a revelation. But for many students I found that the essays were too dense. So this year, I have provided a 15-minute online lecture that summarizes and paraphrases Moretti’s purpose in these two essays.
This video lecture provides the context for students’ work this week: Working with Voyant tools to learn how to (in Paul Fyfe’s phrasing) “Not Read a Victorian Novel.”