Everybody's Autonomy: Connective Reading and Collective Identity

Overview

Experimental texts empower the reader by encouraging self-governing
approaches to reading and by placing the reader on equal footing with the
author.

Everybody's Autonomy is about reading and identity.
Contemporary avant garde writing has...

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Overview

Experimental texts empower the reader by encouraging self-governing
approaches to reading and by placing the reader on equal footing with the
author.

Everybody's Autonomy is about reading and identity.
Contemporary avant garde writing has often been overlooked by those who study
literature and identity. Such writing has been perceived as unrelated, as
disrespectful of subjectivity. But Everybody's Autonomy instead
locates within avant garde literature models of identity that are communal,
connective, and racially concerned. Everybody's Autonomy, as it tackles literary criticism's central question of what sort of selves do works create, looks
at works that encourage connection, works that present and engage with large, public
worlds that are in turn shared with readers. With this intent, it aligns the iconoclastic
work of Gertrude Stein with foreign, immigrant Englishes and their accompanying
subjectivities. It examines the critique of white individualism and privilege in
the work of language writers Lyn Hejinian and Bruce Andrews. It looks at how Harryette
Mullen mixes language writing's open text with the distinctivesness of African-American
culture to propose a communal, yet still racially conscious identity. And it examines
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's use of broken English and French to unsettle readers' fluencies
and assimilating comprehensions, to decolonize reading. Such works, the book argues,
well represent and expand changing notions of the public, of everybody.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Juliana Spahr's remarkable poetic mind is the refractive prism of her useful and inspiring criticism. This book makes a strong case for the long-standing American tradition of reading as a form of liberation, but it makes it in terms appropriate to Spahr's vision of a utopian democracy of active readers in today's complex cultural environments. Her engagements with Stein, Hejinian, Andrews, Mullen, and Cha enact an informed self-invention of meaning that is both richly nuanced model of agency and constructive affirmation for our inextricably intertwined poly-ethnic-racial-lingual world."
—Joan Retallack, Bard College
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817310547
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Series: Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Juliana Spahr is Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. She edits the journal Chain with Jena Osman.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 "There Is No Way of Speaking English" The Polylingual Grammars of Gertrude Stein 17
2 "Make It Go with a Single Word. We." Bruce Andrews's "Confidence Trick" and Lyn Hejinian's My Life 51
3 "What Stray Companion" Harryette Mullen's Communities of Reading 89
4 "Tertium Quid Neither One Thing Nor the Other" Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's DICTEE and the Decolonization of Reading 119
Conclusion: An Unquiet House, An Uncalm World 153
Notes 161
Works Cited 195
Index 215
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