Modern American Reading Practices: Between Aesthetics and History

Overview

In this thoughtful study, Phillip Goldstein shows how the valuation of aesthetics in literary criticism has become increasingly complicated in recent decades. Contemporary readers not only need to look at the text's figures and structure, or the author's intention but must take various media, including television, movies, magazines, and newspapers; as well as the sexuality, gender, race, or nationality of the author, media, or text into account. In this context, Goldstein argues that the study of modern reading ...

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Modern American Reading Practices: Between Aesthetics and History

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Overview

In this thoughtful study, Phillip Goldstein shows how the valuation of aesthetics in literary criticism has become increasingly complicated in recent decades. Contemporary readers not only need to look at the text's figures and structure, or the author's intention but must take various media, including television, movies, magazines, and newspapers; as well as the sexuality, gender, race, or nationality of the author, media, or text into account. In this context, Goldstein argues that the study of modern reading practices most effectively preserves the autonomy of aesthetics while revealing the changing social and historical contexts of American readers. Using pluralist perspectives on novels such as Frankenstein, Huckleberry Finn, Native Son, Light in August, and Jazz, this study suggests that these new historical conditions have markedly expanded and transformed the ways in which Americans have defined and read literature in the last two hundred years.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“At once lucid and intelligent, Modern American Reading Practices probes the relations between reading and textuality through a series of richly argued case studies. Once again, Goldstein pushes the boundaries of reception theory into new territory.”—Tony Bennett, Professor of Sociology, The Open University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230612259
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 12/15/2008
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Goldstein is Professor of English at the University of Delaware. He is the author of PostMarxism: An Introduction and the editor, with James Machor, of Reception Study: Theory, Practice, History and New Directions in Reception Study.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Modern American Reading Practices: Between Aesthetics and History 1

1 Aesthetic Theory: From Marxist Critique to Cultural History 21

2 Aesthetics and Reading: Between Theory and History 33

3 Gothic Romances and the Modern Humanities: The Changing Status of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 51

4 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: From Liberal Realism to Multiculturalism 65

5 Richard Wright's Native Son: Between Naturalist Protest and Modernist Liberation 81

6 Identity and Convention in Faulkner's Light in August and Morrison's Jazz 99

7 The Politics of Sara Paretsky's Detective Fiction 119

Conclusion From Aesthetics to Reading Practices 133

Notes 139

Works Cited 151

Index 177

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