Reading Acts: U.S. Readers' Interactions With Literature, 1800-1950 by Barbara Ryan, Amy M. Thomas
Reading Acts: U.S. Readers' Interactions With Literature, 1800-1950
Author: Barbara Ryan, Amy M. Thomas
Title: Reading Acts: U.S. Readers' Interactions With Literature, 1800-1950
ISBN10: 1572331828
ISBN13: 978-1572331822
Format: .PDF .EPUB .FB2
Publisher: Univ of Tennessee Pr; 1 edition (March 1, 2002)
Language: English
Size pdf: 1685 kb
Size epub: 1448 kb
Rating: 3.7 ✪
Votes: 268
Category: Literature & Fiction
Subcategory: History & Criticism
Drawing on such original sources as diaries, commonplace books, fan mail to authors, booksellers' reports, and student papers, the contributors to Reading Acts recover a wealth of important historical information that expands our understanding of reading in the United States during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The emphasis throughout is on the act of reading and the attendant proposition that reading acts upon those who read.

Covered in this volume are a wide range of fascinating topics, including the cultural agency of women during the early national period; readers' criticisms of the critics in the 1830s; readers' relationships with beloved authors after the Second Industrial Revolution; and attitudes toward single motherhood in the mid-twentieth century as revealed in readers' responses to a True Confessions magazine article. Contributors from diverse fields and disciplines highlight the ways in which human diversity -- and often contrariness -- are reflected in reading habits and enthusiasms. They show how a desire to read and a love of reading have impelled "average" Americans to voice their opinions, defend their tastes, and confront cultural arbiters whose dictates failed to match their lived experiences.

By focusing on documents left by readers deemed "ordinary, " the essayists raise important questions that existing approaches and methodologies often obscure. Their treatment of key variables in the act of reading -- such as gender, institutional setting, and class -- is consistently fresh, provocative, and illuminating.