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Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America
Literature departments are staffed by, and tend to be focused on turning out, “good” readers—attentive to nuance, aware of history, interested in literary texts as self-contained works. But the vast majority of readers are, to use Merve Emre’s tongue-in-cheek term, “bad” readers. They read fiction and poetry to be moved, distracted, instructed, improved, engaged as citizen...more
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published November 14th 2017 by University of Chicago Press
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Jan 30, 2020 Jerrodm rated it it was ok
There were some interesting ideas in this book, but I felt slightly (self!) shanghai'd into reading it. Our book club selected this book (I was the one who nominated it!), only to find out that a) the book is not in fact about "the making of bad readers in post-war America" in the sense that I thought it would be. This book is pretty obviously the dissertation turned publication of its author, Merve Emre, and is a collection of long essays in which she tries to identify ways that the socio-polit ...more
Merve Emre is an associate professor of English at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Bookforum, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Baffler, n+1, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she is senior humanities editor ...more
“The ultimate offense of writing and reading expatriate novels, she posited, was to valorize literary production as the creation of “a work of art” detached from the historical realities of modernity; a work of art preoccupied with the construction of a deeply solipsistic and apolitical interiority at the very moment when literature and its readers needed to look outward, to strengthen their “atrophying power to communicate” with others.”More quotes…