Despite having recently co-edited a book on Moretti’s work [free! free download, or buy the paper!], I haven’t yet commented on his Hamlet paper, which Kieran brought to our collective attention. Because I only just now got around to reading it, and sometimes it’s good practice to hold off until you do that, even though this is the internet and all.

First things first: if you can’t access the LRB version, there’s a free, longer version available from Moretti’s own lab.

Right, the whole thing reminds me of that memorable scene in the play in which Hamlet puts on a PPT presentation, representing social networks in The Marriage of Gonzago nudge nudge wink wink. (Apparently he’s been working on this stuff at school for years.) And Ophelia doesn’t really get it and Hamlet helpfully explains: “Marry, this is miching mallecho; it means mischief.”

But seriously, folks. I like the paper, and I don’t like it. On the one hand, I wholeheartedly endorse this bit. Or at least I would very much like to be able to. [click to continue…]