- Subject index
Reading Literature Today is a path-breaking intervention in current debates on reading and literature. This is a book of criticism that attempts to rescue literature from both the materialism of the market and the convoluted dryness of academia.
The two complementary essaysone on literature and the other on readingfocus largely on texts in English and French, but also refer to other literatures. The authors propose a way of reading literature that not only synthesizes some earlier tendencies and puts them in context, but also propounds a revolutionary understanding of the nature of literature and reading.
The writers taken up for discussion include William Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Marcel Proust, Charles Baudelaire, Franz Kafka, William Burroughs, Dylan Thomas, Attia Hosain, Albert Wendt, Zadie Smith, Philip Hensher, Mohsin ...
Chapter 3: The Fissured Surface of Literature
The Fissured Surface of Literature
To read literature on the surface, or as the surface, of language is a bit like praising a car for the shape and shine of its chassis without any reference to the seating, engine, and so on. No good critic does this. But there is still a greater tendency among critics to focus on the chassis of literature than there is among mechanics or even serious automobile fans to celebrate a car for its metallic exterior. It extends even to our understanding of a writer's genius. Take, for instance, William Shakespeare. Even in that impressive book, Will in World, Stephen Greenblatt, an excellent critic and scholar, unwittingly traces the development of Shakespeare's oeuvre to flow along ...