Digital humanities have broken with the “human” and readerly scale, replacing it with the radical discontinuity of Micro and Mega: a promising change of landscape for which we haven’t yet found the right categories.
Franco Moretti introduces "Micromégas: the very small, the very large, and the object of digital humanities," the first conference organized by the Stanford Literary Lab.
The most typical visualizations produced by the digital humanities are based on a coexistence of the very small and the very large, which challenges the traditional focus of literary study on the middle of the scale: an intermediate dimension—text, or excerpt, or memorable quotation—commensurate to our capacity to understand, retell, memorize, and judge. Digital humanities have broken with this “human” and readerly scale, replacing it with the radical discontinuity of Micro and Mega: a change of landscape that is incredibly promising, but for which we haven’t yet found the right categories.
Micromégas: The Very Small, the Very Large, and the Object of Digital Humanities
by Franco Moretti
Piketty’s Model: Literary History Without Fixed Objects
by Ted Underwood
Paragraphs: The Forgotten Middle
by Mark Algee-Hewitt, Ryan Heuser, and Franco Moretti