The Cyclical Nature of Novels and Culture

In his essay, “Graphs, Maps, Trees”, Franco Moretti comes to the conclusion that, due to the cyclical nature of the graphing of literature and genres, there is never a definite winner in regards to the trends that occur in writing over periods of time. When debating on the topic of Male or Female dominance of British novels, he states:

“…No victory is ever definitive, neither men nor women writers ‘occupy’ the British novel once and for all, and the form oscillates back and forth between the two groups.”

This conclusion got me thinking. He makes a very valid point: the trends involving novels tend to be very cyclical. When thinking about this, I realized that not only can the trend in novels be in a sort of cycle, but our culture as a whole. Sometimes I talk to my mother about clothes and what is, for lack of better words, “in” or “out” at the time. I tell her that guys now wear shorts that sit only above their knees and sunglasses that have larger lenses (such as Aviators) whereas girls have been wearing higher wasted shorts/pants in the summer and high boots in the colder times of the year. After she processes everything, she almost always says, “Those types of clothes have made a comeback?! I remember your father and I always wearing those types of clothes when were together back in high school and college.” Even music nowadays tends to follow old school rules, with artists such as Justin Timberlake creating jazzy and retro beats; even setting up his concert stages to represent the classiness of the earlier decades of the 90’s. There has never been a certain culture or trend that has thrived and dominated America, but several cultures that come and go and then repeat themselves in later years.
In regards to what Moretti states, I think he is correct when he says that human culture, or in this case, novels, has a cyclical nature.

4 thoughts on “The Cyclical Nature of Novels and Culture”

  1. I agree with both points you made. It would seem as though that most everything that naturally occurs on Earth is cyclical in nature if you look at it from far enough away. The economy, for example, rises and falls with time. Day/night cycles, moon cycles, seasons – even things such as Ice ages and mass extinctions are thought to occur in somewhat regularly spaced intervals. I think it’s really interesting that everything from literature to the most complicated processes that happen on Earth happen in cycles.

  2. I totally agree. I find it really interesting that the cyclical nature on Earth, whether it deals with weather, animals, geology, etc., also in a way can be found inside of us humans. We may not know it because cycles don’t really occur in the short period of time that we are alive, but with a broader point of view we can see that us humans create cycles out of several things, such as clothing, politics, and economics. Although humans tend to think of themselves as being above nature, or always fighting against it, we almost accidentally prove to ourselves that we are natural beings who also live with a cyclical nature of life.

  3. It’s all about money and power. The AlGores of the world found in the 70 s that peolpe will pay _any_ price for fuel and that peolpe will believe _any_ cock and bull story so long as there is a person who claims the title of “scientist” attached to it.Remember, we are supposed to be buried under several hundred feet of ice according to the “scientists” of 1975 and the coming ice age.Well, now the very same peolpe, the “scientists” of 1975 are claiming “climate change” (the new term that can cover them no matter which way the temperature fluctuates) will cause the oceans to rise, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, etc., etc., ad nauseum.The money is in the carbon scam and all the so-called “green” revolution.Don’t get me wrong, we need to clean up our act. Humans are making a wreck of their home, even removing the entire tops of mountains to get at the minerals there (look up mountain top removal in WV. Google earth has some very good pictures of it, just navigate to Mud River, WV and look around at the missing mountain tops. The discolored white areas at one time were mountains.

  4. Hey Angie, thanks for the follow on my site. As you can see, I'm not to far along in the blog world, but boy am I glad you stopped by. I love your site! Every picture looks so good I had a hard time picking which one I wanted to see first. This dish looks amazing and I'm thinking a nice lunch with the girls will be perfect for this:)

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