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Author Mitchell, Lee Clark, 1947- author.

Title Mere reading : the poetics of wonder in modern American novels / Lee Clark Mitchell.

Publication Info. New York : Bloomsbury Academic, 2017.

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Description 1 online resource
Summary "Mere Reading argues for a return to the foundations of literary study established nearly a century ago. Following a recent period dominated by symptomatic analyses of fictional texts (new historicist, Marxist, feminist, identity-political), Lee Clark Mitchell joins a burgeoning neo-formalist movement in challenging readers to embrace a rationale for literary criticism that has too long been ignored-a neglect that corresponds, perhaps not coincidentally, to a flight from literature courses themselves. In close readings of six American novels spread over the past century-Willa Cather's The Professor's House, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and The Road, and Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao-Mitchell traces a shifting strain of late modernist innovation that celebrates a species of magic and wonder, of aesthetic "bliss" (as Barthes and Nabokov both coincidentally described the experience) that dumbfounds the reader and compels a reassessment of interpretive assumptions. The novels included here aspire to being read slowly, so that sounds, rhythms, repetitions, rhymes, and other verbal features take on a heightened poetic status-in critic Barbara Johnson's words, "the rigorous perversity and seductiveness of literary language"--Thwarting pressures of plot that otherwise push us ineluctably forward. In each chapter, the return to "mere reading" becomes paradoxically a gesture that honors the intractability of fictional texts, their sheer irresolution, indeed the way in which their "literary" status rests on the play of irreconcilables that emerges from the verbal tensions we find ourselves first astonished by, then delighting in."-- Provided by publisher.
"Argues through close readings of twentieth-century American novels for a return to the foundations of literary study"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents Cover page; Halftitle page; Title page; Copyright page; Epigraph; Dedication; CONTENTS; ACKNOWLEDGMENTS; ABBREVIATIONS; INTRODUCTION: SLOWING DOWN; I. Slow Reading and Wonder; II. Symptomatic Reading; III. Missteps of Close Reading; IV. An Ethics of Reading; V. Problems of Paraphrase; VI. Getting It Wrong; VII. Clash of Values; VIII. Late Modernism; IX. A Disruptive Reading; X. Medley of Styles; XI. "Mere" Reading; Notes; Chapter 1 POSSESSION IN THE PROFESSOR'S HOUSE (1925); I. Unnerving Descriptions, Wondrous Visions; II. Defying Sequence; III. Selfl ess Wonder, Yet Possession Persists.
IV. Lives SuspendedNotes; Chapter 2 OSCILLATION IN LOLITA (1955); I. Style and Desire; II. Evasions and Oscillations; III. Dualities, Indeterminacy, Literature; Notes; Chapter 3 HOSPITALITY IN HOUSEKEEPING (1980); I. Keeping House, Amid Loss; II. "If I Had Been Th ere"; III. Transiency; IV. A Closure that Resists; Notes; Chapter 4 VIOLENCE IN BLOOD MERIDIAN (1985); I. Defying Expression; II. "Language Usurps Th ings"; III. The Failed Promise of "Optical Democracy"; IV. Violations of Simile; V. Savagery and Transfi guration; Notes; Chapter 5 TALK IN THE ROAD (2006).
I. Dead Landscapes, Strange WordsII. Legacies; III. Sustaining the Mysteries; Notes; Chapter 6 BELATEDNESS IN THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO (2007); I. "What's past is prologue." (Th e Tempest, II: 1: 253); II. Ventriloquisms; III. Postmodern Inflections; IV. Blank Pages; V. Centrifugal Narrative; Notes; EPILOGUE: RESISTING RULES; Note; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX.
Local Note eBooks on EBSCOhost EBSCO eBook Subscription Academic Collection - North America
Subject American fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
American fiction -- 21st century -- History and criticism.
Wonder in literature.
Books and reading.
Criticism.
Chronological Term 1900-2099
Genre/Form Electronic books.
Electronic books.
Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Other Form: Print version: Mitchell, Lee Clark, 1947- Mere reading. New York : Bloomsbury Academic, 2017 9781501329654 (DLC) 2016041961
ISBN 9781501329661 (electronic bk.)
1501329669 (electronic bk.)
9781501329685
1501329685
9781501329678
1501329677
9781501329654 (hardback)
9781501329647 (paperback)
1501329650
9781501329654
1501329642
9781501329647