The Oprah Affect: Critical Essays on Oprah's Book Club

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The Oprah Affect explores the cultural impact of Oprah's Book Club, particularly in light of debates about the definition and purpose of literature in American culture. For the critics collected here, Oprah's Book Club stands, in the context of American literary history, not as an egregious undermining of who we are and what we represent, as some have maintained, but as the latest manifestation of a tradition that encourages symbiotic relationships between readers and texts. Powered by women writers and readers, novels in this tradition attract crowds, sell well, and make unabashed appeals to emotion. The essays consider the interlocking issues of affect, affinity, accessibility, and activism in the context of this tradition. Juxtaposing book history; reading practices; literary analysis; feminist criticism; and communication, religious, political, and cultural studies; the contributors map a range of possibilities for further research on Oprah's Book Club. A complete chronological list of Book Club picks is included.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791476154
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 10/9/2008
  • Pages: 357
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction Jaime Harker Harker, Jaime Cecilia Konchar Farr Farr, Cecilia Konchar
1 Oprah in the Public Library Juliette Wells Wells, Juliette Virginia Wells Wells, Virginia
2 Talking Readers Cecilia Konchar Farr Farr, Cecilia Konchar
3 Reading Religiously: The Ritual Practices of Oprah's Book Club Kathryn Lofton Lofton, Kathryn
4 The Romance of Reading Like Oprah Yung-Hsing Wu Wu, Yung-Hsing
5 Oprah's Book Selections: Teleliterature for The Oprah Winfrey Show R. Mark Hall Hall, R. Mark
6 Resisting Paradise: Toni Morrison, Oprah Winfrey, and the Middlebrow Audience Michael Perry Perry, Michael
7 Oprah's Book Club and the Politics of Cross-Racial Empathy Kimberly Chabot Davis Davis, Kimberly Chabot
8 Beware the Furrow of the Middlebrow: Searching for Toni Morrison's Paradise on The Oprah Winfrey Show Timothy Aubry Aubry, Timothy
9 "Did Isabel Allende Write This Book for Me?": Oprah's Book Club Reads Daughter of Fortune Ana Patricia Rodriguez Rodriguez, Ana Patricia
10 The Trouble with Happy Endings: Conflicting Narratives in Oprah's Book Club Kelley Penfield Lewis Lewis, Kelley Penfield
11 Your Book Changed My Life: Everyday Literary Criticism and Oprah's Book Club Kate Douglas Douglas, Kate
12 Correcting Oprah: Jonathan Franzen and the Uses of Literature in the Therapeutic Age Kevin Quirk Quirk, Kevin
13 The Way We Read Now: Oprah Winfrey, Intellectuals, and Democracy Simon Stow Stow, Simon
14 Everything Old Is New Again: Oprah's Book Club Returns with the Classics Kathleen Rooney Rooney, Kathleen Afterword: Oprah, James Frey, and the Problem of the Literary Jaime Harker Harker, Jaime List ofContributors Oprah's Book Club List Index
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