The Stanford Literary Lab’s Narrative by Ted Underwood
This article has been published on the Public Books website. It begins:
Seven years ago, in a small room at the top of a winding stair in Palo Alto, a strange experiment got underway. A group of literary critics began to build a laboratory. Labs themselves are not unusual on university campuses, but in 2010 it was far from clear what a group of critics would do in one. In fact, it wasn’t clear that critics could work productively in groups at all. Literary criticism is usually written alone. However, this volume of essays from the Stanford Literary Lab, Canon/Archive, has 14 authors. With scores of graphs and tables, the book looks like a collection of scientific papers. And yet, the suspenseful narratives that link the graphs don’t sound at all like (modern) science. Where did this hybrid creature come from?