Rereading

Overview

What motivates us to reread literary works? How is our pleasure, interpretation, involvement, and evaluation different when we read a literary work and when we reread it? This fascinating book by Matei Calinescu is the first to focus on the implications of rereading for critical understanding. Drawing on literary theory, cultural anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and previous theories of reading, Calinescu describes the dynamics of rereading and explores the sometimes complementary, sometimes sharply ...
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Overview

What motivates us to reread literary works? How is our pleasure, interpretation, involvement, and evaluation different when we read a literary work and when we reread it? This fascinating book by Matei Calinescu is the first to focus on the implications of rereading for critical understanding. Drawing on literary theory, cultural anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and previous theories of reading, Calinescu describes the dynamics of rereading and explores the sometimes complementary, sometimes sharply conflicting relationships between reading and rereading. Calinescu analyzes fictional works by Borges, Nabokov, Proust, Robbe-Grillet, and Henry James, among others, explaining how reading texts is related both to symbolic play or make-believe and to games with rules. He reviews the history of reading in modern times, discussing, for example, how the Reformation led to rereadings of Scripture and how the proliferation of books during the Enlightenment led to a shift from "intensive reading" to "extensive reading." Calinescu looks at the distinctions between reading and rereading from the perspectives of the age, situation, and gender of the individual reader. He discusses the problems raised by secret or oblique languages and codes - devised to evade censors, communicate with a select audience of "secret sharers," or play games of hide-and-seek with the reader - and shows that they naturally lead to rereading a text. Calinescu argues persuasively that an understanding of rereading is useful in formulating both analytic strategies of practical criticism and a poetics of reading.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300056570
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/24/1993
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.41 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. 1 Models of Reading 1
1 Rereading Borges's "The Aleph" 3
2 Temporal Flow or Spatial Form? 17
3 First-time Reading as Norm 31
4 Rereading as Norm 44
Pt. 2 History, Psychology, Poetics 57
5 To Read or to Reread? 59
6 Modernity and Reading: An Overview 79
7 Ages, Places, and Situations 91
8 Notes for a Poetics of Reading 111
Pt. 3 Play 121
9 Preliminaries 123
10 The Ludic Dimension 138
11 Psychological Approaches 157
12 Fictionality 180
13 A "Christmas-tide Toy": Henry James's The Turn of the Screw 193
14 Mysteries for Rereading 206
Pt. 4 Rereading for the Secret 225
15 Introducing Secrecy: Henry James's "The Private Life" 227
16 Understanding Texts with Secrets 239
17 The Language of Secrecy and the Politics of Interpretation 258
Epilogue 273
Notes 281
Bibliography 305
Index 321
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