• Summary
  • Contents
  • 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 ...

What is Written and What is not Written
What is written and what is not written

To move from an examination of primary literature (in the first three sections) to a look at critical commentaries (in this section) is to become aware of how close various readings came to the point I have been making here and how, in some ways, they ultimately differed.

Traditionally, literature has often been defined as ‘fiction’, ‘great writing’, morally or ethically improving texts, aesthetic writing or in terms of social conditioning (canon-formation), with all the lacunae of definition and inclusion inherent in each of the approaches. Defined as ‘fiction’, it leaves out more factual texts, such as autobiographies and histories, or includes them only by a postmodernist extension of fiction to ...

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