Critical Capital and Reading Around the Text

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Critical Capital and Reading Around the Text

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Publication Other
Title Critical Capital and Reading Around the Text
Author(s) Persson, Magnus
Date 2014
English abstract
Critical reading is in crisis, it is said. It has run out of steam (Latour 2004), become formulaic (Hayles 2012), and it “singularly fails to surprise” (Felski 2009). This diagnosis can and should be questioned. What is really at stake in the current struggle over the reading practices of literary studies? Can the capital associated with critical reading be converted into another currency – and what might that currency be? The recent calls for surface reading (Best & Marcus 2009) and a new formalism undoubtedly forces adherents of symptomatic reading to revisit and revise some of their central presuppositions. What seems to be forgotten, however, is the lingering proximity of the critique of critical reading to the object of its critique. Some of the hidden foundations of critical reading are very much alive in the critique of it as well. In both fields the reading experience itself is paradoxically invisible. In my paper I will confront the reading practices of literary studies with what I, with a term borrowed from Italo Calvino, call reading around the text. This concept forces us to take the reading experience itself, and the social framing of it, serious. It can concern the concrete physical (or virtual) place of reading, the text as a material object, other actors, activities and artifacts that become important in the reading experience. Is it possible to re-imagine a form of critical reading that is sensitive to and curious about these issues?
Publisher American Comparative Literature Association
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) critical reading
reading around the text
literary pedagogy
reading practices in the new media landscape
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Note Capitals. American Comparative Literature Association 2014. New York University. 20-23 mars 2014.
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