Jessica Merrill

Assistant professor in the Department of Slavic Languages at Columbia University. Her areas of research include Russian and Czech modernisms, and the history of literary theory. Her current book project, How Philology Became Theory: Russian Formalism and Czech Structuralism, is an intellectual history which presents a new understanding of the origins of modern literary theory. She has published in Poetics Today, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, Slavic Review, and The Russian Review.


Cover for: Distant reading in Russia: Franco Moretti and the formalist tradition

Franco Moretti’s seminal collection ‘Distant Reading’ set out his famous quantitative approach to literary criticism and was a key contribution to the emergent field of digital humanities. Moretti’s interest in the ‘big questions’ of literary evolution, literary form and narrative universals was shared and significantly influenced by early twentieth-century Russian Formalism, writes Jessica Merrill.

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